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June 17, 2019

Save the earth by reducing your plastic use

  • By Naing Oo (DOCA)

Humans are not void of greed, pride, anger and selfishness. These contribute to lack of reasoning and ultimately, making awful decisions that not only effects oneself but the whole environment – sometimes even the world. The impacts of the negligence we have cast upon the consequences of our actions have led us to global warming. The rising temperature in the Earth is evidence of that.

For a Greener Earth
In Myanmar this year, temperatures struck a record high. Residents compare the humidity and heat as if they are burning in hell blaming deforestation and tales of the sun getting closer to the earth. Environmental personnel have been giving educational talks on “going green” such as reducing the carbon footprint, planting more trees and switching to energy saving lights. Reducing the use of plastics has also been a priority educational topic as well as reusing and recycling them.
If not much may seem, but if one person influences the whole family, the whole family influence their neighbors and so on and so forth, the benefits are immense.
Currently, the resources on earth appear abundant. However, there are disadvantages to the growth and use of such resources.
These “gifts” are not immutable -they get degraded, polluted and can be depleted. Hence, we need to start appreciating the entity that is blessing us with the resources necessary to sustain life on earth and do it in a way that our future generations will be able to enjoy the beauty as well.

The Crimes of Humans
When I was young, my grandmother used to tell me, “Of course the weather is acting up – we’re not treating the world right: everybody is cutting down trees like nothing, using up the groundwater and contaminating it, we’re throwing away so much waste irresponsibly and plastic is everywhere. If only if we can see what we are doing wrong, we can fix those. If we just let those mistakes go free.”
A while ago, a government official meeting had glasses for water instead of the usual plastic bottles. This should serve as precedence for not only government meetings but all public and private enterprises in Myanmar. Plastic does not decompose for thousands of years while burning it will release toxic gas into the environment.
These gases harm not only the environment but can get into the lungs and harm the health of the people.

A Wake-Up Call
Unfortunately, our resources are limited while our desires insatiable. It is dangerous to assume that the Earth would replenish the resources at a rate (or even faster) than we are using it. Hence, these resources are only sustainable with the help, care and cooperation of the people who are living on this planet.
Another misconception is that the Earth naturally filters and then recycles our wastes. Some man-made materials are not welcomed and can even disrupt the ecosystem.
This can lead to extinction of various species as well as destroy the balance in the ecosystem that currently exists. Only with mindful and careful use can these resources be managed and saved.
Every 30 seconds, a person dies due to a misuse of plastic. This is an astounding reality. Plastic not only pollutes the environment; it also causes cancer and other related diseases that can cause death.
Most recently, plastic was discovered 10,000 feet below sea level which shocked the world. This meant that it is impossible to measure exactly how deadly plastic is.
However, we can see for ourselves in front of our own eyes the effects of plastic on health. These diseases and complications can not only cause emotional stress and physical pain but also place a financial burden on the family.
The nation also loses potential labor as the person scumbags to illness. Therefore, more talks are being held to educate the people about the harmful effects of plastic and how it affects our everyday life.
Our plastic water bottle culture and it’s consistent popularity is proof that we still do not care enough about the environment and our own health to make small changes in our livers.

Replacement
There are many ways to replace the use of plastic such as: bringing a refillable water bottle along with them instead of buying plastic water bottles, using a basket to shop instead of having plastic bags to put your vegetables in, try to bring your own containers when buying food and being conscious of your own usage.
Small changes from one person can make a difference. From this one small step, will set out a domino effect and create a nationwide movement against one-use plastics. This will not only benefit us temporarily with less trash in the landfills but also provide us with clean air and a better environment for our future.

Translated by Myat Thu

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