PLASTIC- some in the ocean, some in our stomach!- GURBANI WALIA AND JUHI RANA

Only 9% of all the plastic globally ever produced has been recycled. Plastic is everywhere from packaging to clothes and from gadgets to toys everything has plastic. Disposables especially have made our lives so convenient that we are turning a blind eye towards the health and ecological damage it is causing. It takes 450 years for a plastic cup to decompose and its life/use does not really lasts over 15 minutes. Not only finding proper disposal of plastic is a strain on the economy it is also an environmental and health concern. The plastic is seeping deep into the ecosystem it has already entered the food chain and is

killing animals.

Studies have found that our plastic karma has finally caught up with us in other words studies have found microplastics in our vegetables, soil, waterand fishof course. It is estimated that a human being eats upto one credit card worth of plastic each week. Microplastics in humanscan lead to cancer, reproductive problems; it can also weaken the immune system and cause other health problems by causing blockage in the body. Its not that we are getting passively getting plastic poisoned because someone else is constantly dumping all their plastic waste into the ocean but also because of the products we use first hand. Studies have found that each tea bag leaves billions of microplastics in a cup.

As much as I understand that individuals independently cannot solve the problem of plastic pollution and that the co-operations have much more power and influence. I also believe that we as consumers have the power to dictate on terms that we want these co-operations to produce goods and function sustainably in the economy. The only thing that we as consumers can do is become aware and live sustainably. By consuming goods in a more thoughtful manner we get to know both the products and its providers better. By becoming conscious consumers the general public can demand the providers to shift to a more ecofriendly approach in producing, distributing and recycling their products. It is the people who can force its government to legislate laws that hold corporations responsible for unethical and polluting actions.

As I pointed out earlier, we as individuals can only do so much but that does not mean we don’t try anything at all. Its not like people did not do life before plastic was not invented. Thank the capitalists for capitalism, our market is filled with substitutes of everything. The market has bamboo toothbrushes to replace our plastic brushes with, some of them are so green that even its bristles are made of bamboo. They also have steel water bottles, tiffins, tumblers and even mascara boxesin the market to reduce plastic use. There is loofamade out of vegetables and cutlerymade out of grains. In fact, there are grocery stores out there that sell food without any plastic packaging whatsoever. These zero waste stores sell cloth bag in all sizes to put the fruits, vegetables, grains, spices, etc in or they expect the customer to bring their own bags and jars. Some of these shops even have shampoo re-fillers. Usually these stores only sell organic stuff. If not all then some of their stuff is locally and organically produced. Therefore by becoming a more conscious consumer you will not only save the collapsing ecosystem but will derive direct health benefits.

There is information out there all we need to do is try, to make an effort and live a sustainable life. No one can be a perfect environmentalist, our very existence is a burden on the planet but we cant stop living altogether. What we can do is find an equilibrium. Live a life that is not only in sync with the nature but also appreciates it. We don’t have to begin by taking vast steps but we can certainly start by using tealeaves instead of tea bags.

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