Earth Day In the hands of trees growing seedlings. Bokeh green Background Female hand holding tree on nature field grass Forest conservation concept Image Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What you need to know:

  • On #EarthDay, a reader discusses the importance of saving the planet.

If you try searching for Kamikatsu on the world map, you’ll struggle. Kamikatsu is a small village in south-western Japan and I’ll tell you why this village is special.

In 2003, the village embarked on a rigorous zero-waste program. The residents used to incinerate their trash, but eventually realised how damaging it was to the environment. It took time for residents to adjust to the tedious task of washing, sorting, and bringing their trash to the town’s ‘sorting’ centre. Although the residents do sort their trash before they bring it, workers there make sure the trash goes into the right bins. This process has now become routine.

Now 80 per cent of the town’s garbage is recycled, reused, or composted, with the rest going to a landfill.

By 2020, Kamikatsu hopes to be completely zero-waste.

A supermarket in Thailand has come up with a genius way to reduce plastic packaging: wrap its produce in banana leaves instead. The use of banana leaves instead of plastic for packaging vegetables is a brilliant way to reduce single-use plastic. They are wrapped in banana leaves and secured using a flexible piece of bamboo.

Reading about these practices brings a smile to my face. Their mindful attitude towards the environment we live in is not only inspiring but is a wake-up call to the rest of society. A bit of sincerity can make a big difference. There are things one can do every day to help reduce greenhouse gases and make a less harmful impact on the environment.

Personally, my family has stopped using plastic bags for our groceries. When we are out grocery shopping, we carry cloth bags and making sure we don’t use plastic bags offered at supermarkets. India has banned the use of plastic bags and I am waiting for this to become a common practice in the UAE. We do not buy water bottles during our outings and make sure we carry glass bottles when required. My neighbour and I take turns to drive our cars to reduce the amount of pollution caused by emissions.

As a child I had read that if you can’t clean your surroundings, then you should not make them dirty. It’s a mantra that has stayed with me all these years.

Taking care of the Earth is not just a responsibility, it’s a privilege.

- The reader is a voiceover artist based in Dubai.