We have watched numerous videos on social media where marine life like sea turtles and seagulls have died after ingesting plastic bags. Two months ago, the carcass of a sperm whale was washed ashore on a beach in Spain. Inside its stomach were plastic bags, a plastic bottle and pieces of net, weighing 29kg. The items couldn’t be digested, causing the whale to die of abdominal infection.
A study, conducted by University of Queensland’s School of Biological Sciences, found that about 52% of the world’s sea turtles have ingested plastic or other human rubbish. The report estimates between four and 12mil tonnes of plastic enter the oceans annually.
Locally, the average Malaysian uses 300 plastic bags a year, reports the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association. With a population of 30mil, it adds up to Malaysians using nine bil plastic bags each year.
Last year, Selangor initiated its ‘no plastic bag’ campaign which stops shops from giving out free plastic bags to consumers. It’s an extension of the state’s No Plastic Bag Day on Saturday campaign which started in 2010.
Earth Day is held on April 22, a day dedicated towards saving the environment. It includes green initiatives such as tree planting, cleaning up the beach and recycling.
Parents can teach children to do their part for the environment. Here are a few simple ways to get children involved in green activities:-
Reuse, reuse, reuse
Carry a reusable container or tiffin carriers when packing food from stalls. This can lessen the use of plastic bags and polystyrene containers.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Instead of driving to the convenience store around your neighbourhood, try to walk or cycle.
Separate your trash
Separate recyclable items. Place plastic bottles, soft drink cans and glasses in a different bin from food waste.
Get your hands dirty
Encourage children to plant a tree, shrub or flower. Teach them to respect the land and different plant species.
Reduce water consumption
Do not leave the tap running while brushing teeth. Only a glass of water is needed for brushing your pearly whites.