The Earth is regarded and worshipped in many countries as the ‘Mother’ of all things natural and beautiful. Man’s total dependency on the Earth for survival, and the Earth’s nurturing ways of providing for man’s every need, makes it nothing less than a doting mother.
Mother Earth Day: When it all began
To celebrate and honour this relationship with the Earth and its ecosystems, the UN declared April 22 of every year as “International Mother Earth Day”. Recognised nearly a decade ago, this day reaffirms the UN’s effort to achieve a “balance among the economic, social, and environmental needs of present and future generations, besides promoting harmony with nature and the Earth”. Every year, a specific theme is attributed to this day to address the current issues on a global level. This year’s theme is “End Plastic Pollution”, owing to the ever expanding piles of plastic garbage and water bodies choking on plastic trash.
Why was this theme chosen?
Chasing ease and convenience, man invented plastic. And everything changed. From poisoning the marine life to 50-feet tall landfill mountains, plastic is everywhere. Here are some surprising facts about our plastic consumption:
1. Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
2. 50% of the total plastic is just used once and thrown away.
3. At least 8 million tons of plastic enters the oceans each year.
4. 60-90% of marine litter is plastic-based.
5. There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.
What can we do to end plastic pollution?
We all use plastic in one way or another. Take a look around, and 90% of the things around you are made of plastic, whether it is a chair or a computer. The proposed benefits of plastic are far outweighed by its drawbacks, due to the toxicity it has introduced in our lives.
The amount of plastic garbage that we have generated is a grave problem that doesn’t come with a quick-fix solution. We all must understand our role, change our habits, and adopt an alternative lifestyle that minimises the use of plastic. Here’s how we can help in defeating the monster that we have created:
1. Reuse shopping bags, water bottles, plastic containers, etc. as many times as possible.
2. Say no to single-serve packaging and disposable plastic items. Carry reusable items and utensils wherever possible.
3. Volunteer at a beach/river clean up drive.
4. Say no to small plastic items like straws, lighters, etc. and go for traditional alternatives.
The Ponty Chadha Foundation is doing its part in curtailing the use of plastic and the pollution caused by it. Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan – a school run by PCF, encourages and facilitates its specially-abled students to make eco-friendly products. These products are showcased at exhibitions and sold both online and offline. This activity not only makes them financially independent but instills in them a sense of responsibility towards the environment.
This International Mother Earth Day, let’s learn from our kids at MBCN, and pledge to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as we can. Let’s end plastic pollution together!