plastic

BuzzOnEarth is an online publication on environmental sustainability and human wellness, focused on creating positive impact. BoE aims to bridge the knowledge gap and act as a catalyst in accelerating sustainable development.

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Plastic pollution does not stand a chance this World Environment Day. India is the global hosting country this year focusing on the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. With India on the reigns of the sustainable chariot, BuzzOnEarth is declaring a war on Plastic Pollution. Presenting you a brilliant mix of hand-picked stories. Some are informative, some are innovative, and some will definitely make you think hard and motivate you to reduce the use of plastic in your daily life. Well, we hope so.

 

1. Ragpickers: The Real Fighters Beating Plastic Pollution in India

India is home to 1.35 billion people. The waste generation coupled with its mismanagement would probably lead you to believe that India would be the worst hit country by plastic pollution in the world. Believe it or not, India is not in the top 10 and the reason is- the community of ragpickers in India.

ragpickers

There are estimated to be 1.5 million to 4 million ragpickers in India responsible for cleaning about 62 million tonnes of waste annually. On an average, they get paid only around Rs 200 per day. They work with bare hands and feet in a toxic environment. The fumes, feces, deadly germs, stench have a horrendous effect on their health. Most of them are underage, migrants and have no other place to work and no formal education either. Ragpickers are the heroes that India need and they should be treated like ones too. With proper safety gears and gadgets, better healthcare services and recognition, they can be our key to beat plastic pollution and save our ‘Environment’ Day.

 

2. Farewell to Plastic in Latin America and the Caribbean

On 30th May Chile became the first South American country to ban single-use plastic bags. The ban will come into in one year’s time for major retailers and two year’s time for smaller ones.

Polluted water sources are the major cause for ban of plastics

Along with Chile, several other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are also using taxes and bans to reduce the use of plastic. According to United Nations Environment Programme, the world consumes up to 5 trillion plastic every year.

Many of the neighboring countries are also following Chile and Columbia to eradicate plastic. In early 2018, Panama became the first country to ban polythene bags in Central America.  Likewise, Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador followed suit to make themselves plastic free.

 

3. Going Plastic Free: EU Proposes Ban on Worst Single-Use Plastics

EU

European Commission (EC) has announced on Monday that they are planning to ban on around 10 of the most lethal single-use plastic items including straws, cutlery, cotton buds, plates, stirrers and coffee cups.

Annually, the world produces 300 million tonnes of plastic waste and Europe is responsible for 25 million tonnes of it. On top of it, only 14% of the plastic produced globally is collected and recycled.

 

4. Eco-friendly Packaging: Alternative to Conventional Plastic Packaging

Packaging materials are usually single-use products. Plastics, styrofoams, polystyrene and other non-biodegradable packaging materials are very convenient to use for packaging. They pose a negative environmental effect.

eco packaging

In E-Commerce packing material is important for safe delivery. Almost all the packaging material is thrown away after unwrapping. All these waste end-up in landfills and oceans.

There are a lot of green alternatives for packaging. Hope very soon all the products will be packed with one of the following eco-friendly materials: Starch-Based Plastic, Mushroom-Based Packaging, Papers and Cardboard, Cloth-Packaging.

 

5. Wimbledon to Ban Plastic

Its hard to be in a Wimbledon match without Pimm’s. Pimm’s is a brand of fruit cups, also considered as a liqueur. The All England Lawn Tennis Club announced that it will ban the use of plastic straws in bars, cafes, and restaurants from this year onwards. 

wimbledon

Thousands of cups of Pimm’s are sold in Wimbledon each year, these beverages are served in plastic containers with plastic straws. Last year around 400,000 plastic straws were used in the tournament.

Plastic straws are among the top 10 non-degradable items found on the beach. In addition, a single straw takes more than 500 years to decompose. As part of its sustainability plan, the Wimbledon committee decided to ban the use of plastic straws in the tournament. Instead of plastic recyclable paper straws will come into the picture from this year. The waste collection signage in the tournament has also improved over the years. In fact, in 2017 only 1.4%  of waste generated went to the landfills.

 

6. Dead in the Water: 29 kg of Plastic Kills Sperm Whale

A 33 foot long juvenile male sperm whale was found dead on a beach in Murcia, Spain. The whale’s stomach and intestines were filled with 29 kilograms(64 pounds) of plastic. It died of abdominal infection, peritonitis a condition where the digestive system ruptures when the body fails to digest the waste it had swallowed.It must have been in severe pain and came ashore to put an end to its misery.

Sperm Whale

Regional authorities in Murcia have launched a campaign to clean the region’s beaches and create awareness among masses to stop littering around coasts. Each year, 12 million tonnes of plastic enters oceans which is responsible for wiping out marine life. If you’re thinking that you’re safe from the ocean plastic debris, think again! 70% of marine litter is non-degradable plastic. It not only chokes marine species but is also devastatingly affects the food chain.

 

7. 5 Eco-Friendly Products to Curb Plastic Pollution

One million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year from plastic pollution in our oceans. Plastics are changing our ecosystems, and it is high time that you start contributing to the planet.

plastic pollution

By shifting to eco-friendly products you are practically contributing to sustainability in the environment. Here is how you can make an impact by shifting your choices to the following eco-friendly products: Eco-Friendly Clothing, Wool Shoes, Reusable Water Bottles, Coffee Cups and Recycled Toilet Paper.

 

8. Fishing Bottles in Water Bodies

Reports suggest that pollution kills more than one million seabirds, 100,000 sea mammals, and countless fishes. Here is a compilation of 5 frightening studies where the water bodies were turned into plastic fishing grounds.


U.S. and Canada together discard around 22 million pounds of plastic into the lakes each year. This accounts for 80% of litter on the shores. In 2016 in a small lake in India, a team of NGO removed 4,000 liquor bottles. In the island nation the Philippines more than 90% of the plastic used ends up in the ocean. 90% to 95% plastic polluting the world’s oceans comes in from just ten rivers. Out of the top 10 rivers – eight are from Asia. Five countries in Asia (China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) alone dump as much as 80% to 90% of the world’s plastic.

 

9. Adidas Sells 1 Million Shoes Made From Ocean Plastic

Ocean plastic is a serious environmental concern where smaller pieces of plastics are choking seabirds, turtles and many species which are dependent on the ocean. As a part of Ocean Plastic cleaning process various small and large companies have undertaken many interventions.

Adidas as a part of their contribution to the sustainability of oceans has sold nearly more than 1 Million shoes in 2017 which are made from ocean plastics. Adidas works on a three-point strategy which focuses on avoiding the use of virgin plastic, the collection of plastic waste from the environment, and redesign footwear and apparel to ensure sustainability in clothing and footwear.

 

10. Our Waters Getting ‘The Ocean Cleanup’

The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit Dutch organization dedicated to clearing the seas from plastic. Through crowdfunding and investor’s money, the company is all set to start working on the ambitious project.

the ocean cleanup

Most of the ocean plastic is concentrated in five areas in the world due to ocean currents – known as the world’s “ocean garbage patches”. The largest one aka the Great Pacific Garbage patch contains 79,000 tons of plastic. 40 feet long floating pipes are fitted together and suspended in the ocean. They have nylon screens hanging down which is capable of catching debris as small as one centimeter in diameter.

 

11. The Dying Albatross Around Our Necks

The largest bird on the planet, Albatross is the true majestic king of the skies. The species has been around for 64 million years. They usually feed on fish, krill, and squid. 22 species of albatross have been identified by IUCN, all threatened. 3 of them are critically endangered and 5 are endangered. 100,000 albatross die every year.

Albatross

Along with rising sea temperatures, the ocean plastic is one of the main causes of death of these seabirds. The birds swallow floating plastic on the sea surface mistaking it for food and bring it for their chicks to feed on. The chick dies unable to digest the debris. The Albatross Task Force was set up in 2006 to save the albatrosses around the world. They work with fisheries and governments by spreading awareness about the threat received to these seabirds due to lack of sustainable practices in fishing. The results are astounding. In Namibia, there is a significant decrease in the accidental killing of albatrosses.

 

12. Eco-Friendly Plastic Covers

Plastics have become inevitable in modern lifestyle. They get disintegrated and this can easily enter our food chain when animals ingest them. Once in food chain biomagnification leads to higher toxicity in higher organisms. Envigreen Biotech India Private Ltd a company that produces 100% biodegradable substitute for plastic covers. They manufacture eco-friendly covers that exactly mimic the texture and other properties of the plastic cover.

notebooks

Envigreen covers are made from organic materials like starch, vegetable oil derivatives and waste. These covers have gone through hot water test, burning test, hot iron test, edible test and strength test. It has been tested and certified by regulatory agencies. These covers take 180 days to degrade and are 100% organic, even the coloured prints on them are organic. The best part of Envigreen covers is that they are not at all toxic, these covers can be ingested by animals without fear. This property of Envigreen covers would help in reducing the number of deaths caused by ingestion of plastics.

 

13. Smart Ocean Task Chair: Chairs Made From Ocean Plastic

According to EcoWatch, there are approximately 6,000 pieces of plastic per square mile on ocean’s surface. The Smart Ocean Task Chair is made up of 2lbs. of recycled fishing net material. Fishing nets are responsible for almost 10% of the ocean plastic. The chair not only helps in cleaning oceans but also supports the health and comfort of its customers.

 

14. Eco-Friendly Men’s Summer Shorts Made of Plastic Water Bottles

US-based startup Fair Harbor uses 11 water bottles to make one set of shorts. The water bottles are collected,  cleaned, shredded and made into the fabric which is then blended into cotton to make men’s shorts. The beauty of the technology is that the product is equivalent to normal shorts in terms of style and feel.

Fair Harbor stands out as a clear organization which supports the movement of Green Fashion. Use of sustainable materials into making clothes and accessories will ensure sustainability of the fashion industry and contribute significantly to reducing ocean plastic.

 

15. Picking Up Litter While Jogging, Plogging Is the New Craze

For all the environmentalists out there who are also couch potatoes, it’s good news for Y’all. A motivation for all, who keep reminding themselves that one morning they will go for a run or hit the gym regularly but fail to do so. Plogging is here! Originating from Scandinavia, the trend is now paving its way across UK, US, France, and India.

plogging

Although it’s not out of the box innovation, just because it’s the latest trend people are adopting it worldwide. It’s simply jogging along with picking up trash. It is the combination of the words “jogging” and the Swedish “plocka upp” which means to pick up. Eco-friendly plogging burns more calories than simply jogging. People in India are taking plogging to a new level. They are introducing plogging in hiking too.

 

 

 

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