Wednesday, August 6, 2008
ZERO PLASTIC FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Living in a world where PLASTIC rules, challenging oneself to abstain from using it for a month takes alot of courage and perseverance. And to CHRISTINE JEAVANS of the United Kingdom, we take our hats off in salute to your ambitious venture in your bid to help save the environment.
She wrote an article, published in BBC NEWS, giving reasons why she is taking up this formidable task and also gives an honest list of a month's worth of plastic waste (a total of 603 items!!)she currently is guilty of, as a barometer of abstinence. Married and with an 18-month old son in tow, she will constantly need to be on her toes to stop buying or accepting anything which contains plastic or is packaged in plastic. She will have to rely on recycling and reusing those she is having.
We cannot deny the bitter fact that the advent of PLASTICS is one of the most useful of all inventions in the last century. We can list a thousand and one things that make use of it - from household products to high-tech devices, from durables to disposable wares. Even money comes in the form of plastic viz: credit cards!
Undoubtedly, it is one of the most versatile product in our modern society - one that has ingrained itself into almost every person's daily life. Even a newborn babe is not free from its grip - if you take into consideration the amount of disposable nappies he/she will go through before being potty trained. Yet, despite it being indispensable, PLASTIC products is one of the most hazardous form of waste on earth.
It takes between 10 to 20 years for plastic bags to decompose and 50 to 80 years for plastic containers to disintegrate. And for STYROFOAMS, it can take FOREVER!! Plastics are synthetic substances produced from chemical reactions and almost all of them are made from petroleum. The manufacturing and disposal of such products have very negative impact on the environ and contributes heavily to global warming.
In June, SELANGOR state kicked off a campaign aiming towards a ZERO PLASTIC BAG ZONE in a year's time. All the 12 municipals and city councils in the state kicked start the project in July and will extend it to include hypermarkets, shopping complexes, offices and homes. During the campaign, plastic bags and styrofoam would be totally banned from these areas. Employees will be educated on the need to reduce its usage and encouraged to use eco-friendly alternatives and to bring their own containers
to pack food etc. If everyone pitch in and commit to carry out this worthy act, it will certainly help to lessen the amount of solid waste in our landfills.
It is estimated that plastic waste accounts for 14.3% of the total solid waste in the state. Research also shows that the usage of a plastic bag lasts an average of only 12 minutes, after which, it is discarded as waste.
In line with the ZERO PLASTIC campaign, TESCO STORES in Malaysia are also jumping onto the band wagon and doing their part to save the environment. They launched a TESCO GREEN CLUBCARD POINTS last month in which customers are rewarded with points for every carrier bag that they reuse while shopping in their stores. They have started giving out reusable bags to customers and even encourage the usage of reusable carrier bags from their competitors. TESCO's officer David Hobbs said that they aim to reduce their carbon footprint intensity by 50% by year 2020. Kudos to TESCO STORES for their corporate social responsibility in tackling the problem of climate change and global warming.
And before we sign off, let us all be mindful of Christine Jeavans who has committed herself to do something postive for Mother Earth. She deserves our respect and admiration. We would all do well to emulate and follow her example. You can send her an encouraging note by filling in a form at this link:
To read on PLASTIC-An Environmental Menace (GREENPEACE):
For more on SELANGOR'S "ZERO PLASTIC BAG ZONE" campaign:
For TESCO STORES effort:
P.S. MAKE TOMORROW a PLASTIC-FREE DAY!