Let's start with a short Google exercise. Search for 'animals trapped in plastic' and every resulting image will expose you to the harrowing abuse these gentle creatures are facing. If you've ignored the plastic problem in the past thinking it to be a mere litter issue, this could be an eye-opener.
As travellers, we often proclaim our undying love for the beauty of the earth and it's distressing to see that human beings' growing sense of adventure has become another way to befoul the pristine destinations we explore.
Across the world, 160,000 plastic bags are used EVERY SECOND and only 4% of the plastic used is recycled.
This global crisis at hand warrants a lifestyle change and as a community that loves the marvels of nature, we need to take responsibility to reduce plastic consumption.
If as responsible travellers you share the concern, here are a few small ways to alter the way you travel so you can reduce your plastic consumption.
1. Ditch the habit of using plastic cutlery
As consumers, we have got into the practice of using plastic cutlery. It's nothing but a mindless habit bestowed upon us by growing consumerism. To change, start with carrying your own set of reusable cutlery everywhere you go.
2. Do you really need drinking straws?
Every day around the world, we produce and utilise 500,000,000 plastic straws and the impact of this plastic consumption can be seen as floating bits on the shore of the seas. It's an easily avoidable habit if only you see your surrounding environment as your responsibility.
3. Don't buy bottled water
According to a 2001 WWF report, approximately 1.5 million tonnes of plastic is expended every year in the bottling of 89 billion litres of water. Who saw it coming when it all began, but in the current times it's nothing but a forced habit of consumerism. How can we do our bit? Buy a reusable water bottle and carry it everywhere you go.
4. TBH, aluminium cans are not a necessity
In the United States, 121 cans are consumed per American every year and approximately 38.2 billion aluminium beverage cans end up in landfills. The multiplied global impact of this generated waste is seen when livestock get maimed and killed by ingesting this waste.
5. Plastic bags are nothing but a nuisance
The awareness to reduce and reuse plastic bags has been slow to come about. It requires a change in lifestyle and habits, especially in travellers. It should be a norm for trekkers to carry a waste bag and clean the trails they explore. Trekking companies such as Indiahikes have already incorporated waste collection initiatives on trails and this becomes an inspiration to independent trekkers.
6. Reuse travel toiletry bottles
The simple and ingenious way to reduce plastic waste while travelling is to avoid buying new toiletry sets every time you travel. Do not throw away old shampoo bottles; instead refill and reuse them whenever you travel. Ways to reduce this mindless plastic consumption are many, and they only require active efforts towards the cause.
Every year hundreds of animals die of suffocation due to consumption of plastic waste across the globe. For the aquatic life surrounding us, 'death by plastic' is now a recognised epidemic. Meanwhile, the plastic market increases each day and our mindless habits act as fuel to the fire.
If you have suggestions to reduce plastic use while travelling, tell me about it in the comments section below.
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