Hey. Let me tell you about something that has been bothering for a while now. Few months ago while aimlessly scrolling my instagram feed I came across this photograph shared by one of my favourite activist/photographer /artist instagram story – Jack Harries ( I would also recommend checking out his twin brother Fin Harries – truly inspirational guys) This is the photograph that blew me away:
Amazing right? This photo lead me to Natural Geographic page where I found bunch of alarming articles about plastic pollution. Of course like many of you I knew about this problem before but I never really realized juts how fucked up this situation got and the powerful images they shared truly hit me hard. Check out some of this articles to learn more.
There is a bunch of sad environmental videos, photographs or stories I could share with you but that’s not really my goal in this article. What I want to share with you is the ways we all could make a difference and show you some heroes that have been doing their part and don’t get much recognition for all of their hard work.
So here we go:
First of all I want to point you to this website called worldenvironmentday.global and their project BEAT PLASTIC POLLUTION with inspiring slogan if you can’t reuse it, refuse it.
They came up with amazing idea of organized clean up. Basically you can join a clean up event in your location and help get rid of and properly recycle plastic. Here you can learn more about clean ups and also about this app called Litterati which is simply an app tool to help you encourage others to collect plastic.
If you are more of a leader than follower you can organize your own clean up event and register it at this page and share it with people in your location with map of where exactly will the clean up be. Here is how you can register and start and make a difference.
With this organized clean ups I must introduce you someone. His name is Afroz Shah and to be fair I don’t know much about him but I aspire to be like him. This guy does the most amazing clean ups I have ever seen, he does post on his instagram page his clean up results of the week and there has been lot of weeks since he’s been doing this.
This was the picture I saw that led me to Afroz as he was the one of the volunteers. This truly restored my faith in humanity and I feel such satisfaction and relief that there are people who care and do something about plastic problem.
Here are some other photos that supports my theory about unknown hero:
I highly recommend you visit his instagram page HERE and see for yourself the amazing things he did.
If you’re not into big events such as this you can still do your part by following many eco-friendly tips you can find on the internet and here are some:
The whole point is to reduce the amount of plastic you use every day, and if you are for some reason unable to stop using plastic the least you can do is reuse it. I understand that not all of the time you have your canvas bag with you, or your reusable bottle so you buy cheaper plastic version of this, but I’m sure you could find some use for them afterwards.
The sad thing is how cheap is to get this plastic option instead of ecologically friendly ones and trust me being a drop out student in between jobs, working part-time in KFC – money is heavy step back in my eco life as well. I feel so guilty every time I need to purchase a plastic bag and the amount of plastic waste I create on my own is upsetting. The least I can do is recycle it I – have bunch of plastic bags under my table that separates my plastic, paper and glass trash and once in a while I need to find a recycling bin and separate them. You would think that medicine a pharmacy students would have better access to recycling, but nah – if you want to recycle you must make an effort yourself what is such a difference from my primary school where each of our classes had recycling bins so kids could learn to dispose their trash properly.
This leads me to another topic and that’s leading and teachings kinds to reduce plastic waste. I would recommend you check out this stunning video called Oceans of future by Greenpeace. It’s important we grow sence of responsibility and ecological thinking in this kids. I’m so grateful my parents did that with me.
Since I was little we would always separate plastic or milk cartoons from other trash and recycle them later and my parents do that till this day. They actually fill the truck of our car with plastic and need to drive to recycling bins, because there are none in around our new place.
We would always need to turn off the lights when we would leave the room (sometimes not even when we leave the room – it’s so annoying when your dad turn of the lights off when you’re in the bathroom almost every time), turning the water off when you’re brushing your teeth, washing dishes or shampooing your hair. This might sounds ridiculous to you cuz I believe this things comes naturally to people and I find it useless to even mention such small things but I remember skyping with my grandma when she was living and working in america. She would always ask me if I tun off the water when I’m brushing my teeth and I always found it so weird she would ask me something like that. Of course I do. But the family she was staying at don’t find it as natural as I did and it was upsetting my grandma a lot.
We would always make fun of our family’s plastic bag full of plastic bags we would take whenever we went shopping, but once I moved out and lived on my own I realized how clever this idea is and now I have my own plastic bag of plastic bags.
I feel it’s important to put this sence of responsibility into kids and you can always do it in some fun kid friendly way. My parents would for example give me and my sisters bag and we would have to collect trash around our building – make a competition out of clean ups – who collects the most?
There is just no wrong or too little way to save the world.
How to be more eco-friendly if you work for larger corporations?
I currently work for large fast food chain restaurant KFC and let me tell you the amount of waste our single small store creates is alarming. The amount of food and plastic waste is unbelievable and the sad fact remains that single-handed part-time worker in such corporation can’t do literally anything without risking their jobs.
We do have separated trash bins for plastic, bio and mix waste, but we also have to throw all of the meat out once it reach its expiration period of extremely short 30 min! As a former vegetarian the amount of chicken meat, energy wasted for its preparation and basic situation of world hunger depresses me a lot. So what can I do as an individual ? Girls gotta eat and pay bills.
Sadly I did not figure out answer to this question yet besides to push the big bosses into doing eco-friendly changes for whole restaurant chain. We did switched to paper to-go cups instead of plastic and we also use paper bags what is incredible step forward, but the amount of plastic straws is still bad and hopefully we would also make some changes like our competition did that really pleases me :
Being a middle european I don’t really understand the demand for straws or ice, but switching to reusable metal straw could make a difference and prevent this from happening:
Of course I understand that if I refuse plastic straw at 27th June 2018 7pm from a cashier at fast food restaurant who has to offer me one I’m not gonna save the world – but if the fast food stops/reduce offering one – this might be actually a huge step forward.
Why do I even write this?
Let me be so full of myself and believe that one day some big animal in some firm would come across this article, or some family member of their would mention Beat plastic pollution project to them and light up a spark of thought process in someone who actually could make bigger impact on environment.
Spread the word, get inspired, some people are really trying to make a change – why not be one of them ?
I’m not saying I’m perfect, I still occasionally buy plastic bag or bottle, I don’t always recycle materials that should be recycled and sometimes I’m just lazy and put plastic into mix trash can. But I also switch to bamboo toothbrush instead of plastic, I ordered bunch of canvas shopping bags (that would get deliver to me in plastic bag – how ridiculous is that? There should be something done by this issue as well, or the recipes – most of us don’t need them and sure as hell don’t have any way to reuse it – you might refuse it but that doesn’t mean it’s not gonna get printed anyway) and the least I can do is trying to be better and spread the word to people who care and even to those who don’t .
Also not every time is our effort met with actual results. I’m talking about fake recycling bins where all of the garbage ends up in same place without any recycling whatsoever. So if you see something like this in your building call out the authorities about it! Some of us are actually trying for crying out loud !
The amount of waste that ends up in oceans is just heart breaking. I grew up in a country without access to ocean and I only got to see sea or ocean at our summer family holidays and the memories have from those trips do not meet the sad reality of how bad ocean pollution got.
Simple hard-working individual can not make a difference unless the individuals with actual powers makes changes to preserve the earth. But I feel like I’m slipping back into depressing side of this issue but I really want to point to positive effort of many people involve in helping solve this plastic pollution problem.
There is a note at our fridge in our dorms shared kitchen that states: “Our problem is that we believe someone else is gonna save the world” after one neighbour of mine got upset about number of plastic people from our hall were throwing away.
If you wat to make a difference but don’t know how to start here you can take pledge at national geographic with simple tips of what to do to reduce your plastic waste.
Take your pledge
Thank you so much for your attention