Beat Plastic Pollution – New Theme for World Environment Day 2018

by June 4, 2018 0 comments

Beat Plastic PollutionSmall initiatives provides a long way. Your single step can contributes a lot to save Mother Earth from degrading any further. Join the game of “Beat the Pollution” and be a part of the worldwide movement to clean up the planet.  

The World Environment Day is around the corner. Every year it is planned according to a particular theme and slogan to bring and spread awareness in the world through campaigns.This time, India is the global host of 2018 World Environment Day with “Beat Plastic Pollution” as the theme for this year’s edition, with an aim of combating single-use plastic pollution. Here is a look at how we all can contribute by incorporating environment-friendly changes in daily life — home, office and the way we travel.

Environment-friendly practices at home

The heat is soaring and temperatures, according to met experts, are all set to rise further this season. Sheathing homes from the raging sun means you could be blinded by exorbitant electricity bills — or may be not. For here are some eco-friendly ways to keep cool even during the peak of summer at minimal cost.

If you are living on the top floor of a building, you are sure to get the full blast of the sun’s heat. Minimise it by covering the roof’s surface with gunny bags which can be sprinkled with water once or twice a day. The evaporating water from the soaked gunny sacks cools the roof while the ceiling fan inside the room drives the cool air down. This simple module is a very effective air-conditioning system. Needless to say, the cost is miniscule as compared to the cost of running the AC 24×7.

A coat of white lime wash on a flat terrace can help the slab to remain cool throughout the summer. In much the same way ice/snow reflects UV rays instead of absorbing the heat, white roofs/terraces reflect the heat and help cool the house.

Another way of reducing roof temperature is stacking up bundles of damp straw (a natural insulator) on a plastic sheet. Or just curate a terrace garden (the mud used to grow plants acts as an insulator) though it may be time-consuming.

But not just rooftops, strategically placed plants, shrubs and vines function as living air-conditioners and can effectively cool a home. Planting shady varieties on the east and west sides of the house blocks out the heat. Vines and creepers along staircase and balcony grills act as natural purifiers. You can also grow plenty of plants in your balcony or mount vertical wall gardens to be heat blockers.

While everyone knows that cross ventilation or cross flow of air can bring down the temperatures, the time is a crucial factor. The best time to open the windows during summers is between 5 to 8 am and between 7 and 10 pm. During the day, one should shut the windows and draw the curtains unless you want to get the full blast of a heat wave. Banish those dark synthetic drapes, opt for cottons in white or pastel colours.

Hanging a wet sheet in front of your window can create a natural air-conditioner-esque effect.

Inside the house, turn off the lights when not in use, especially incandescent bulbs. Not only do they consume more power and increase the electricity bills, they also radiate a lot of heat. It’s best to replace them with cooler light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescents (CFLs). Another way to bring down the heat (and the bills) is to turn off electronic items when they are running idly. These emit heat, so unplug the electronic equipment when not in use.

Try doing your cooking, laundry and ironing during the cooler parts of the day or in the evening. Partially cooking your next day’s meals in the evening can help reduce daytime load and keep the carbon footprint down.

Then there’s the ultimate ruse of optical illusion. Adopt minimalist décor styles which trick the mind into believing it is in open and calm environs. So pack away all unnecessary knick-knacks and add some flowers, vases and pebbles to create a relaxing sanctuary.

Greening offices and co-working spaces

Companies can turn ‘green conscious’ and adapt eco-friendly practices by judicious utilisation of minimal resources. Anchal Khosla, founder, Intiki (handmade home decor) said, “I feel environmental changes are a must with increasing natural disasters and human interferences. Additionally, environmental change and ecosystem impairment have harmful effects on human health. Three tips that I feel we should abide by — re-use the backside of printed paper that is being junked, use less plastic in general and recycle all trash.”

Rishi Das, founder of IndiQube said, “Coworking spaces possess a huge potential to support environmental sustainability due to their inherently sharing-oriented constitution. These spaces are eco-friendly in various ways. The sharing principle of co-working spaces does not only refer to the physical space but also to supplies, resources and amenities, lowering wastefulness. It makes sense for co-workers both from a business and from an environmental perspective. Coworking spaces do an excellent job at fostering environments conducive to startups’ and freelancers’ efficacy. On a larger scale, however, many coworking spaces and companies working in these spaces are also doing their part to save the Earth.”

Alternatives to plastic

Baby wipes/wet wipes are the third largest contributor to non-biodegradable plastic waste across the world. India alone contributes over 1200 tonnes of waste produced by these wipes on an annual basis. With growing income and population the waste will only increase.

Rishu Gandhi, founder and head of brand strategy, Mother Sparsh is trying to address this concern before it gets out of hands. With this mindset, she has launched this brand which is committed to delivering eco-friendly and baby-friendly products. They entered the market with their eco-friendly offering of 98 percent water based baby wipes made of plant fiber.

Gandhi said, “Globally there is a movement to ban use and throw of plastic products especially wipes. Here in India, we need to take some action on ground before this menace spiral out of control, hence, we would always want more eco-friendly products to be launched in the baby care segment especially wipes which contribute over 1200 tonnes of waste in India, annually. The good thing is that few other startups have taken a note of the same and are working in the same direction. This is a sign of responsible business by the new generation of entrepreneurs. Similarly, new age mothers who are looking for eco-friendly products which are not just good for their kids but also good for our mother earth, are equally responsible for opening up this category of business.”

There are various benefits of shifting from plastic bottles to copper ones. Considered to be the best alternative to infamous plastic water bottles Mr Cook drinkware collection has copper bottles which help in maintaining digestive health, prevents the risk of cancer, heals wounds and relieves joint pain, prevents cell damage and slows aging, aids weight loss, helps in maintaining heart wealth, improving skin and hair health, supports the immune system, improves blood quality and prevents thyroid diseases. Navaid Nowshah, MD, United Group, said, “Our range of thermal bottles is apt for summer days and provides a healthy alternative to plastic bottles. It helps in keeping the water cool and is light to carry.”

Zero food waste

According to a recent report India wastes around Rs 244 crore  worth of food a day. It is high time we adopt measures to reduce food wastage at home and while eating out. Colonel Prakash Tewari, executive director, DLF Foundation said, “Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets wasted each year. This is alarming as  42 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. Wasted food is also an emitter of carbon dioxide. Both home and hotels should take steps to minimise food wastage. Hotels should encourage customers to take home leftovers and leverage food rescue charities — organisations working to collect excess food and redistribute it to the needy. At home, it is advisable to store edibles safely and keep refrigerators at optimum temperatures. One must also plan menu carefully and make most of the seasonal produce.”

Writer: Team Viva

Courtesy: The Pioneer

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