What Shouldn't Go in 2021

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What Shouldn't Go in 2021

We are almost ready to enter the New Year 2021, a new decade is going to start. At the end of the decade in 2020, everyone has changed in terms of habits, future plans, and lifestyle, and priorities due to the pandemic. Then why shouldn't we think a little more about the environment too? We have been hearing about a lot of things to stop for a long time ago with respect to the environment like a plastic ban, pollution-free environment, climate change, global warming and animal cruelty, etc. But didn't see any change yet. A long time has been passed thinking and watching for solutions. It's time to make a change. This year after facing a deadly pandemic and still suffering, let's try to change something that we have been hearing for decades. Let's give a thought about what shouldn't go in 2021 

1. Plastic

  • The development of plastics had a 100-year journey that started with the use of natural materials that had intrinsic plastic properties, such as shellac and chewing gum. Further, chemical modification of natural materials such as rubber, nitrocellulose, collagen, and gallate took place. Finally, the wide range of completely synthetic materials that we have now. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was first polymerized between 1838-1872.
  • According to reports, 9 billion tons of plastic have been made since the 1950s. Only 9 percent of plastic waste produced ended up recycled, 12 percent was incinerated and the remaining 79 percent has lied in landfills or ended up elsewhere in the environment. The researchers estimated that the amount of plastic in use now is 30 percent of all the plastic ever produced
  • India generates 25,940 tons of plastic daily. Over 10,000 tonnes a day of plastic waste remains uncollected. Majorly plastic waste in India contributes to single-use plastic. Looking at the bigger and worse picture, it is estimated that by 2050, the amount of plastic in the ocean will weigh more than the fishes
  • The current government in India has taken steps and aimed to phase out single-use plastic till 2022. Several states in India have already banned plastic carry bags. But enforcement has been lax. People don't take these bans seriously because of fewer fines and penalties with respect to their profits using them
  • Use of plastic products leads to ingestion and/or inhalation of large amounts of both microplastic particles and hundreds of toxic substances with known or suspected carcinogenic, developmental, or endocrine-disrupting impacts.

Plastic wouldn't be removed completely. But still, we can try to lower the impacts and use of plastic in our daily lives. At the smallest level, you can start with some basic replacements as follows: 

2. Animal Cruelty 

  • Animal cruelty does not only means testing products on them or importing them. It includes every kind of harm people do with them thinking that they can not harm you back. we came across news about the brutality against animals now and then, As we all know several countries including India posed a ban on this, but after all of the restrictions, people do. India has some laws against animal cruelty that every Indian should know about and follow. 
  • Every animal, small or big has faced torture in India in every corner of the country. Dogs, cows, goats unnaturally raped by humans, giant animals like elephants also gone through the cruelty of humans. These inhuman actions put us in a questionable situation, are we really human?
  • Let's talk about the dairy industry on the whole because it doesn't make a big difference whether it is an Indian dairy industry or some other countries. The dairy industry has served as the merciless killer for decades. Most of us are unaware of the tortures that animals go through in the dairy industry. Be sensitive about every creature on earth and take some action
  • We should educate children to be front-runners in protecting animal rights. Open shelter homes for abandoned animals

3. Fossil fuels 

  • Fossil fuels retrieved from the ground and offshore areas and converted into suitable forms to produce energy. Around 90% of the energy produced by fossil fuels. They are non-renewable sources of energy that take millions of years to generate. Fossil fuels come in the form of coal, oil, or natural gas. They are the cheapest and easiest of all fuels to acquire and use.
  • Unsurprisingly, the use of fossil fuels to generate energy has a variety of harmful impacts on our environment. It includes the way they extracted and processed and in terms of how they used and disposed of later on. The increase in the consumption of coal and petroleum is one of the major reasons for an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. As a result, the rise in temperature occurred in the earth's atmosphere. The greenhouse gasses also destroys the ozone layer of the earth’s atmosphere.
  •  Due to the rise in temperature, polar ice caps have begun to melt and as a result, the average sea level is rising. The rise is twice as fast as they were 150 years ago.
  • Considering that almost all of our systems of power designed to work with them. Indeed, changing to another energy source is expensive and complicated but we need to start now because it takes years to shift from the current system to another. The real problem is getting people to see that talking in terms of 100 years, or a thousand years means it is important to consider now what we do. It is hard to get people to connect to a sense of responsibility for the future, but it can be done with education

4. Fast Fashion

  • We all love to buy new clothes on every other occasion or just for mood change, keeping every trend in the closet. But we never think of where these clothes are coming from. Affordable clothing lines, so-called ‘fast fashion’, usually rely on underpaid work, and unsustainable mass-produced materials. The whole sector enables people to wear the fashion trends they see online for a lot cheaper, and a lot faster. 
  • Being available for a cheaper price, the environment pays for the rest of the cost. Fast fashion has negative impacts on the environment that include water pollution, toxic chemicals and textile waste not just through production, but the amount that thrown away by consumers. It’s often harmful and in many cases deadly to animals.
  • One of the biggest issues in fast fashion is that the people who make the clothes are exploited. The cheap price tag these clothes have means that the cost has to be made up somewhere.
  • As we are heading to the new year 2021, we should take a resolution to buy fewer clothes and reusing existing clothing to the maximum timespan. 
  • Renting your clothes or taking clothes on rent is a good option to get grips with fast fashion. Getting clothes on rent or from a thrift store means, you can have special dresses on special occasions without investing so much money. 

5. Mixing of waste

Waste segregation
  • Waste segregation is the sorting of waste into dry and wet for easy and systematic recycling. Waste segregation is just the first step every Indian should take for the improvement in solid waste management. 
  • According to TOI, India generates approximately 277.1 million tonnes(2016 estimates) of municipal waste every year and it is projected to be 543.1 million tonnes in 2050 unless tangible actions are not taken. 
  • According to the calculation of the world bank, India is on the first rank for waste generation all over the world but if we look per person waste generation, India’s figures are so low in comparison to others. Here is the lack of waste segregation, which means waste is generated but not handled properly.
  • India is a very big and great country, no government itself can do magical things without the cooperation of people living in the country. They both should go hand in hand to make the country cleaner. Narendra Modi has started a cleanliness program in 2014 to improve solid waste management.
  • Waste Segregation is needed in the very first place. If you start doing this at your home or office, it will be more cost-efficient than post-collection segregation. Post segregation requires more labor to do this job. 
  • Mixed garbage will ultimately go into landfills and harm the environment by releasing methane gas into the environment and leaks poisonous liquid that contaminates the soil and water

6. Food wastage

Source: Don’t waste food

  • As we are heading to the new year 2021 and we all should think about what we eat and how much we waste. If we go into our past, we have a culture of not wasting a single grain of food. We used to worship food but somehow generation changed and people adopt the western culture of wasting food and not thinking about the consequences
  • Our challenge should not be how to grow more food, but to feed more people while wasting less of what we already produce. Food waste in landfills releases methane that can trap 25 times more heat than carbon dioxide
  • There are a lot of actions we can take at the consumer level to curb our emissions. Delivering leftovers to those in need of food, shopping smarter, and composting to make the best out of waste are very few solutions to save our planet
  • Food waste can be linked to globalization. To make things available in every corner of the world, supply chains get longer and food becomes more vulnerable to get wasted. In every phase of the supply chain from growing to processing, packaging, and transporting the food to consumer plate food waste takes place. As a result, it ultimately contributes to climate change. 
  • On average, one-third of the food produced (i.e approximately 1.3 billion tonnes) in the world goes into waste every year. Food production is responsible for around 26% of global GHG(greenhouse gases) emissions. It includes both types of food wastage, first, food that never is eaten, and second, food that is wasted after consumption.

7.  Deforestation

Deforestation

Source: deforestation

  • Deforestation is one of the most discussed environmental issues since the time of independence in India when industries started business. Till now there is no appropriate action on that problem. There is a reduction of 3.16% in the global forest cover from 1990 to 2015
  • It is the conversion of forested land to non-forested land by humans. Deforestation occurs when a land dominated by naturally occurring trees is converted to provide certain services in response to human demand.
  • In India, even in the whole world,  the forest resources are depleting at a pace that is much higher. Rapid industrialization, urbanization, and over-exploitation have resulted not only in decline but also in permanent loss of forest cover at an alarming rate 
  • Deforestation and burning of forests puts a lot more carbon dioxide in the environment that can harm the climate as well as the hydrological cycles, soil quality, biodiversity, and microclimatic conditions
  • To tackle this problem, we should plant trees as much as we can and try to limit our consumption of fossil fuels. Try to limit the usage of automobiles. 
  • Educate your children about nature and make them aware of the future harmful effects of deforestation and other activities.

8. Water Contamination 

water contamination

Source: water contamination

  • We can say straightforwardly that there must be some tangible action about the contamination of river water, fields, or any other water bodies due to industrial waste. Industries discharge chemical wastes comprising substances called effluents in rivers, lakes, streams, etc.
  • Factories sometimes put waterways into open sewers by dumping oil, toxic chemicals, and other harmful liquids called effluents into them. These chemicals not only pollute the water reservoirs but also disturb the natural purification cycle of water carried out by microorganisms.
  • Indian public health and safety authorities have displayed limited action in tackling the impending public health crisis. Just 30 percent of wastewater undergoes any sort of treatment before being discharged in a wretched stream of industrial effluent that contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals. 
  • Household wastage also contributes to contamination of water as people throw toxic liquids into sinks like acid, paints, medicines, and oils. They got mixed up with the flowing water and ultimately went into big water bodies. It affects aquatic life and the environment too. 
  • To date, there is no administrative framework for testing toxic contaminants in primary products like vegetables and fruits. This contamination can also cause severe infections and diseases after consumption in households 
  • Do not throw toxic elements into the water, try to be responsible for the environment, and trash them in a proper facility or in a nearby dustbin
  • Industries should not get permission to drain out their chemical waste directly into open fields or rivers. It should be treated first and then drain out

9. Energy Crisis

Source: Medium
  • Despite the countless campaigns and programs related to the energy crisis that has been launched by concerned citizens and even the government of the different countries, why is it that we still have the same problems up to these days? We are in the same situation of not understanding the focal point of the condition and there are a lot of people who do not really care?
  • Currently, we could not recover the situation only by turning the lights off when not in use or by replacing old and inefficient appliances that consume a large amount of energy. The biggest effect of using too much energy is an increase in carbon footprint, which means the amount of carbon dioxide and all its other compounds emitted into the air.
  • According to TOI, around 3 billion units of energy wasted in India per year as per the 2014-15 data. And now it's 2020, it's increasing as the population increases. If people continue to overuse energy, sooner or later, we will run out of supply. The little bit that we get would be very expensive. You will surely dread seeing your utility bills.
  • The best possible solution is to reduce the world’s dependence on non-renewable resources for energy production and exploring renewable available options such as steam, solar, and wind. The major concern about the non-renewable source is not that we ran out of them someday but they are polluting the atmosphere
  • Replace traditional bulbs with CFLs and LEDs. They use fewer watts of electricity and last longer. If millions of people across the globe put effort to use LEDs and CFLs for residential and commercial purposes, the demand for energy can go down, and an energy crisis can be averted.

10. Not Recycling and Composting

composting
  • Compost is an organic matter obtained by the fermentation process of organic material(food scraps, and garden waste) in the presence of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi). This natural process is known as composting. It is a valuable and nutrient-rich food for the garden. Gardners use this compost to improve soil quality and physical properties for the growth of the new crops.
  • Most people throw their organic waste into the trash every day without any second thought. There has been no change for decades but it’s time to change after all COVID-19 has changed us a lot. It’s pretty sure that we can do a lot more we could think of in our daily life in respect to changing habits
  • Composting has a lot of benefits for soil, environment as well as human welfare. It does not require any chemical fertilizers, so it’s FREE. Provides moisture to the soil so that less water needed for plants. Rain does not wash away the soil nutrients
  • It reduces the emission of greenhouse gases from waste transportation. Reduce the use of chemical fertilizers which ultimately runoff to rivers and sea. Anaerobic decomposition of household waste in dumping ground produces methane which is more harmful than carbon dioxide.

References:

  1. staff, Science X. “Five Things to Know about Plastic Waste and Recycling in India.” Phys.org, Phys.org, 2 Oct. 2019, URL 
  2. Lifesacatwalk. “Why We Should Avoid Fast Fashion.” -, 31 Oct. 2020, lifesacatwalk.com/2020/10/19/why-we-should-avoid-fast-fashion/. URL
  3. Service, Tribune News. “Animals, Too, Have the Right to Live without Pain.” Tribuneindia News Service, URL 
  4. Kumari, Rima, et al. “Deforestation in India: Consequences and Sustainable Solutions.” IntechOpen, IntechOpen, 4 Oct. 2019, URL
  5. Möller-GullandJennifer Möller-Gulland, Jennifer. “Toxic Water, Toxic Crops: India's Public Health Time Bomb.” Circle of Blue, 26 Mar. 2019, URL 

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