It is nearly impossible to escape plastic in our daily lives. But, I’ve decided to become as environmentally conscious as possible.
I am currently involved in actively collecting plastic bottles from the neighbours, hotels and corporates and recycling them at the Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) launched by Bee’ah, Sharjah’s environmental management company. As part of these efforts, I try to recycle at least 200 bottles every month.
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute, as stated in a report published by UK-based newspaper The Guardian. Imagine if all these bottles were recycled!
Bee’ah has made it easy for Sharjah residents to do so and get rewarded while you’re at it. They have installed several user friendly RVMs where you can deposit bottles or cans, collect a printed receipt with a unique bar code, create an account on their mobile application, enter the code and participate in their monthly draws to win prizes. This innovative scheme spreads awareness and motivates the participant to recycle more.
Plastic pollution involves the accumulation of products in the environment that adversely affect humans or wildlife. Living organisms, particularly marine animals, can also be affected through entanglement, direct ingestion of plastic waste, or through exposure to chemicals within plastics.
A regular garbage bag takes about 100 years to decompose, as stated in a report published by US-based The New York Times. That’s something that many of us use on a daily basis, be it to carry our groceries or an item bought at the mall. It turns out that more than one million bags are used every minute!
So, why should we recycle plastic? If you still have to ask, a million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans, as stated in a study conducted by Canada-based University of British Columbia. On the other hand, if we were to recycle plastic, just one recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for three hours.
Kinshuk Phalke, a student based in Sharjah, has also vowed to make a small difference through his actions. He also recycles the plastic bottles in his home and neighbourhood.
He said: “There is a high use of plastic bottles by my neighbours. I collect and recycle them weekly through Bee’ah’s RVMs or submit them to the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG). I also try to raisem awareness by educating students my age on the harmful effects of plastic and motivate them to use reusable bottles as much as they can. The Beeah RVMs are a rewarding move for recycling, and can serve as a good motivation for individuals to recycle.”
Ajit Thomas, an insurance officer based in Dubai, helps me with the collection of plastic bottles from his office.
He said: “We have a recycling box at our office to collect the empty plastic bottles, which are quite widely used during meetings. I motivate the employees not to waste water and to ensure that they drink all the water and trash only empty plastic bottles. It is not practical to get rid of disposable water bottles for now, so the best we can do is atleast recycle them.”
All of us can follow simple steps to reduce everyday plastics, such as sandwich bags and juice cartons, by replacing them with a reusable lunch box that includes a thermos. We could also choose to reuse when it comes to plastic bags. Through this report, I encourage all students to do their bit for a greener earth.
— The reader is a student based in Sharjah.
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