“To use, or not to use plastic- that is the question: Well, I would say REUSE.”

- By Samardeep

Plastic, a material often regarded as one of the biggest threats to the environment, has become so ingrained in our lives that we find it almost everywhere, ranging from something as small as a toothbrush to massive containers. In fact, this subject has gained so much prevalence that no science lectures in schools are complete without discussing the detrimental effects of plastic, which have become so deeply embedded in our brains that the moment I hear plastic, I see an ambulance siren wailing, screaming at the top of its lungs, “PLASTIC IS BAD, STAY AWAY”.

Plastic, as we all know, is a non-biodegradable substance and only less than 14% of all plastic is recyclable, so the remaining 86% plastic has the potential to wreak havoc because plastic waste stays on earth for hundreds of years since plastic does not rot. 

In fact, it is so long-lasting that the United States Environmental Protection Agency says that “Every bit of plastic ever made still exists.” Now, the sad part is that besides being well-aware of its dangers, we have built a society in which plastic has become a necessity. 

Just look around you right now and the probability is that you are surrounded by plastic, unless you are reading this article in a jungle. Well, all we can do now is to make sure that we use plastic to the best of its life and ability and that when we have finished using it, we do our absolute utmost to ensure that it goes to the right place and be properly recycled rather than being sent to a landfill. In order to do that, I would be shedding light on some ways of reusing plastic which I have listed below:

Turn plastic bottles into planters.

Make a watering can out of a plastic bottle.

Make a plastic bottle bird feeder.

    Transform plastic containers into a birdhouse.

Turn coffee creamer containers into storage containers and fill them with anything solid, like sugar, biscuits, dry fruits, the list is endless.

Reuse old plastic bags as liners for your trash cans.

Make a piggy bank using a plastic bottle.

Transform plastic lids into coasters.

Turn a plastic bottle into a lampshade.

Convert milk jugs into shelf organisers.

    Reuse Ziploc bags whenever possible for travelling, storing dry goods, and refrigerating food items.

    Make crafts out of plastic: Use plastic bottles, straws, and other items to make DIY projects such as pencil holders, chandeliers, wind chimes or even jewellery.

Debris Tracker - #NatGeo

Debris Tracker - #NatGeo

Man, Rivers and Oceans

Man guided by his highly consumer-driven and inconsiderate approach produces over 380 million tonnes of plastic every year, which is then used by the humongous population on land. Once, we are done using plastic which is mostly for a single-time use like for drinking soda in a plastic cup with a plastic straw which no one will ever use again, it is thrown away in rivers because obviously, we have poor waste management practices and why would we ever pay heed to the fact that the 134 kgs of plastic waste we produce every year eventually comes back onto our dinner tables. Now, this plastic which is thrown in the rivers finds its way into the ocean which is so disastrous that emerging research has suggested that not one square mile of ocean surface anywhere on earth is free of plastic pollution. In fact, the United Nations Environment has already warned that at the rate at which we are dumping items into the ocean, we will have more plastics in the oceans than fish by 2050. 

Worse still, what we see floating on the surface accounts for only 5% of all the plastic litter that has been dumped into the ocean, the other 95% is beneath the ocean surface. This very plastic in the ocean harms more than 300,000 marine animals every year. Some creatures get entangled in the plastic debris, while others like seabirds, turtles and fish ingest the plastic, which clogs their digestive systems and ultimately causes death. Fish and birds mistake smaller plastic particles for food and feed on them in enormous quantities and it is these very fish which have directly ingested plastic, that we eventually end up eating, giving way for plastic to rise in the food chain and ultimately reach us. This has led to such severity that a recent study by Prof Vethaak found plastic in the blood of 17 of 22 healthy blood donors.

It is sad how humans, who are the most intelligent race on the face of the earth, are harming not only themselves but other creatures too, which is the biggest irony in the world. So, it is high time that we start taking action to save the oceans from plastic because if we don't, it could have grave consequences.

Project Green Leaders- Ocean by Enviro Vision 2050

Deeply moved by how our selfish actions had caused such a disastrous impact on the marine ecosystems, I was highly motivated to do my utmost to protect the oceans. So, I decided to join this project which gave me a better insight on what is happening around the world and how much impact every single individual can have when it comes to protecting the environment. 

Along with a group of highly enthusiastic high-school students and teachers who are deeply passionate about saving the environment, I went on drives and campaigns to raise awareness about ocean literacy. 

We also collected old t-shirts and cushion covers and using our creative skills, turned them into beautiful reusable bags in order to minimise the carbon footprint. In the end, I would urge everyone to do their best to save the environment because what will we be left with if we destroy the one planet we have ?

Being the agent of change

UN- EnviroVision Green Leaders