Sunday April 22 marks an important day in the environmental calendar – its Earth Day and it is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world. People march, start petitions, plant trees, host clean-ups and make pledges to commit to sustainable practices. The theme this year focuses on the impact that plastics have had on our natural environment and human health as they seek to mobilize the world to end plastic pollution.
But rather than bore you with any more of the gory and eye-opening statistics to support that claim in the world and in our own country (trust me the numbers are indeed appalling to say the least!), I want you to shift your focus from the problem to the possibility.
I get it – the world is vastly different from what it once was but there is so much more that we have access to now. The invention of the internet is as good as sliced bread. We can now tap into various avenues, no matter where in the world we are. I can’t stop talking about our first Female President, Her Excellency Ms Paula Mae Weekes and how proud I am as a woman, and head of an organisation myself to see her lead us all.
People all over the the world have created products and/or services and have used technology to make people’s lives better such as the provision of solar-powered lighting to homes in Africa, the creation of an algae water bottles which completely decomposes or the water trash can which collects waste from our oceans and seas. So many things that we can take pride in where we are at this moment. The same applies to plastics.
The plastics industry is a booming one with endless possibilities with potential like a ripe julie mango.
Our boardwalk in Chaguaramas is a prime example of this – it is made of plastic lumber from plastic bottles can be used to make recycle bins or cell phones cases or even be put to use in road paving and that’s the tip of the iceberg.
Recycling plastics has benefits to both e’s – the environment and the economy especially if it’s made right here so we need to change the way we look at that bottle – see the potential, see the possibility and not the problem. There are obstacles along the way such as access to start up funding or finance to fund projects which does limit the growth of the industry. But you can start right where you are using whatever little you have. Do research for international funding rather than closing your scope to Trinidad and Tobago. 85% of the waste that is produced here is recyclable so why not do something with that information. We have intelligent young people leaving our academic institutions wondering what next? What can I do?
I say be a part of the movement in the environmental industry. Let us start by utilizing the 3 R’s in the order that they are: Reduce, Reduce and then Recycle. Say NO to single use plastics as well – those are the items you use once then throw away. Be the change you want to see in the country. Responsibility and action beings and ends with YOU.