It doesn’t take a complex calculation or a mass survey to realise that the planet is in danger, and reduction in plastic seems to be the easiest way to combat the problem. Streets are littered with plastic bags, and Australian beaches are riddled with plastic wastes that threaten marine life. One of the hazards of plastic is that it takes a very, very long time to degrade, making it unsuitable for disposal. The use of recycled sunglasses and recycled materials for clothes can be a good start, and just as the Australian government is taking action to combat plastic pollution, the citizens can do their part too.
A study conducted in 2017-2018 showed that Australia consumed about 3.4 million tonnes of plastic and that too with only a 9.4 per cent recycling rate. By recognising the dangers of plastic on the country’s biodiversity and the environment, it’s time to cut down the use of plastic and opt for more eco-friendly alternatives.
- Cutting Down the Use of Plastic at Home: Straws, bags, covers, and anything that’s made of plastic needs to go. For packaging, choose materials like natural bamboo or starch and avoid those that are made in excess plastic. It might be surprising to know that most plastic used in the kitchen is used and then disposed of, sometimes carelessly. Make use of reusable materials and avoid plastic products if possible. When ordering takeout from restaurants, ask them not to give plastic cutlery and always use reusable cups and spoons instead.
- Say No to Microbeads: Although it’s not banned in the country, the Australian government has taken the necessary steps to phase them out from cosmetic products and other accessories. Even then, microbeads are still prevalent in many products, so keep an eye out for such items. Go through a checklist, see what products are laden with microbeads, and avoid buying them altogether.
- Stop Buying Bottled Water: When plastic pollution is mentioned anywhere, there will always be a picture of plastic bottles stacked on top of each other. No, it’s not just for marketing purposes because plastic bottles make up for a significant part of the plastic pollution caused in the country. From beaches to bins, plastic bottles fill the place littering the areas they’re discarded in. Buy a reusable bottle and carry water in that. It’s healthier and more convenient. Moreover, one can never ascertain the quality of water packed in the plastic bottles, so use boiled and filtered water from homes.
- Keeping the Plastic Out of Products and Fashion: Always buy from manufacturers and industries that support plastic reduction and don’t use plastic to make products. Recycled clothes, shoes, recycled sunglasses and other recycled products help keep plastic pollution within controllable limits.
- Support Movements That Call for Plastic Ban: Always support or donate to causes, movements and organisations that call for a plastic ban or reduction in plastic. Simultaneously, criticise those who still use plastic and ensure that they are brought before the right authorities. Consumers can keep a check on such manufacturers more than any government regulations.
- Volunteering: Try being active in the local cleanup efforts on Sydney beaches or the other Australian coastlines. It is a nice way to meet like-minded individuals and participate in something that’s helping the environment. Support or organise events, take up a notch, and be active in political protests and environmental rallies. The stronger the collective voice, the louder the impact, and the more the chances are for a genuine change.