Plastic pollution is a glaring threat to our ecology, a problem that most of us act indifferent to instead of stepping forward to resolve it. Abhimanyu Chakravorty, a 31 year old climate-change campaigner from New Delhi is going to set an example for us by travelling to various countries in South-East Asia to spread awareness about the hazardous effects of increasing plastic use.
The heart-breaking picture of the 10-feet long sperm whale that was found dead at a beach in Spain with 27kg of plastic in its stomach is what spurred Chakravorty to action. Alongside, he gained inspiration from the large-scale cleaning of Versova Beach in Mumbai. The fitness rage called Plogging ie. picking up trash while jogging is what further inspired Chakravorty to take matters into his own hands.
He started by adopting Plogging himself and then began to spread the trend all over India; soon he had a team that would jog along beaches and parks, picking up trash as they went. He believes that picking up trash is the first step towards waste management that all of us can take, and it’s something that all of us must start to do.
Fast-forward to a few months after affirmative action to protect the nature, he is now all set to travel to Nepal, China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines and Myanmar on his motorcycle to influence and inspire others.
Chakravorty will conduct workshops, awareness campaigns with NGOs in these countries, and at the same time, exchange information on waste-management systems. Considering that fact that South-east Asian countries contribute to 60% of the waste that is dumped into oceans, it is essential that communities start refusing the use of plastic. At the same time, these countries have seen massive dumping from developed countries, which added to the problem of population has only made matters worse. South-East Asia also has the biggest developing economies in the world which has resulted in an enormous amount of irresponsible waste management.
In such trying times, Chakravorty’s initiative is a fine example which proves that activism can be translated into a wide-scale action towards changek, if only one persists about their passion towards the environment. There’s no other solution than to collectively come together to beat plastic pollution, and this is exactly what Chakravorty attempts to do through his tour around these countries.
With action, awareness of waste management along with the need to refuse the use of plastic, Chakravorty is setting an example that we all must follow. After all, this is the only planet that we have , and we cant be turning the entire place into a dumping ground. So as you can follow Chakravorty’s campaigns as he travels, here are some steps you can take to become a more environment friendly, a conscious and responsible traveller.
The next destination that you travel to, challenge yourself to follow these steps, I’m sure you’ll emerge a much aware and conscious citizen if you try these:
1. Stop buying plastic bottles, instead carry along steel or copper bottles that you can refill with filtered water at restaurants and cafes. A bonus point of using steel/copper bottles is that it's a much healthier option than consuming water stored in plastic bottles, which could be carcinogenic.
2. Say no to packaged foods like chips and biscuits, instead, start your day with a heavy meal so that you don’t need to stack along and buy these packaged goods.
3. While shopping, carry a backpack along so that you aren’t forced to accept single-use plastic bags.
4. If you do possess plastic bags, don’t just discard that plastic waste at the place you’re visiting, try and reuse the bags. Plastic bags make for good shoe covers or storing shampoo bottles while you travel.
5. Say no to plastic straws at restaurants, have your drink straight from the glass! Don’t you do that at home anyway?
6. Urge the restaurants that you visit to stop the use of plastic spoons, cups and plates. Sometimes, an opinion of a traveller does strike a chord, leading them to change their practice.
7. Most of all, be a proud and loud eco-traveller, spreading awareness about responsible travel as you go!
So don’t just #beatplasticpollution on World Environment Day, make it an inherent part of you and your lifestyle.
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