We only have One Earth to live on so it is imperative that we take care of it.
This is a slogan we see day in day out. Yet how many people have truly taken the steps to protect our environment? We are almost all guilty of one thing or another “I’ll bring my own water bottle next time” you say to yourself as you pick up yet another bottle of water at the supermarket.
We need to live in the NOW. Act today because there might not even be a tomorrow if we continue to think like this. As of right now, plastic pollution is set to triple in ten years if we do not intervene. By the time we really take action to ‘do something’, plastic pollution would have poisoned our oceans, our land, injured all wildlife as well as human health. In fact, this is already happening. Scientists warn that plastic has already found its way into the human food chain. According to scientists at Ghent University in Belgium, people who consume seafood ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastics every year. In addition, a report by Plymouth University states that plastic was found in a third of all UK-caught fishes, with the likes of cod, haddock, mackerel and shellfish.
It is increasingly possible that there will not be life in the sea for very much longer if the pollution continues at this rate. According to a research by Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 5m to 13m tonnes of plastic leak into the world’s oceans each year only to be ingested by sea birds, fish and other organisms. By 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic in weight than fish.
There is a key to plastic pollution – bottled water. According to Rosemary Downey, head of packaging at Euromonitor, most plastic bottles used across the globe are for drinking water. From Euromonitor International’s global packaging trends report, more than 480bn plastic drinking bottles were sold in 2016 across the world. By 2021 this will increase to 583.3bn.
So what about Hong Kong? Green Earth estimated that last year 5.2 million plastic bottles were dumped in Hong Kong every day, and since 2008, Hong Kong had thrown away more than 12 billion plastic bottles. It takes at least 70 years to completely decompose a 500ml plastic bottle.
“Every single individual makes some kind of impact on the planet every single day, and we have a choice as to what kind of difference we are going to make.” – Dr. Jane Goodall, legendary anthropologist.
Every effort counts! Want to know how you can help make this world a greener place to live? We have some suggestions:
- Stop buying water. Instead, carry a reusable bottle in your bag. This way, you not only reduce the use of plastic bottles but also reduce your carbon footprint!
- Don’t buy personal care products with microbeads. The tiny microbeads in your scrub or toothpaste might look harmless but indeed they are non-biodegradable (or take forever to decompose) so they end up being consumed by marine lives, i.e. finding their way in our food chain.
- Eat at home more often. The best way to avoid plastic takeaway containers is to cook at home! Your health will also thank you because more often than not, home-cooked meals are way healthier than eating out.
- Vote with your dollar. Choose brands or restaurants which walk extra mile to support environmental protection.
Hong Kong throws away 5.2 million bottles every single day – is it time to ban sale of the plastic disposables? Yupina Ng. South China Morning Post. 20 October, 2017. http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/2116318/hong-kong-throws-away-52-million-bottles-every
A million bottles a minute: world’s plastic binge ‘as dangerous as climate change’. Sandra Laville and Matthew Taylor. The Guardian International Edition. 28 June 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/a-million-a-minute-worlds-plastic-bottle-binge-as-dangerous-as-climate-change
Ocean plastic waste set to triple within a decade, government scientists warn. Tom Powell. 21 March 2018. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/ocean-plastic-waste-set-to-triple-within-a-decade-government-scientists-warn-a3795021.html