By Dr Lopamudra Priyadarshini
The world is at the brink of collapse and it is something we will blame at nature and corona, while we are the actual reason behind this catastrophe. The markets are full of people, masks nowhere to be seen and safety measure guidelines ignored like the terms and conditions of a website. Infection is growing exponentially and patients are coming as high tides, mostly infected because of their own ignorance. While the world is dealing with major idiocy of population at large, reaping benefits out of the misery of others, one thing which has taken a major hit is sustainability.
Trying to flatten the curve and get a hold over the rapidly spreading infection, the world has forgotten about sustainable development and its goals. If wondering how these are connected, here is the blunt reality. There are numerous aspects with which Covid-19 impacted the world at large. Crumbling healthcare, careless population, momentary improvement of environment and permanent depletion are a few of many. Speaking of the last, permanent depletion of nature is directly linked with how we all have ruined the world with excessive usage and wastage of material since the strike of the corona.
Below mentioned are the 4 major red flags:
People have rather doubled the usage of plastic bags post-Corona, owing to their ease, laziness and sense of ‘security’ from the virus, while wasting the environment.
An Everest level hike came for single-use plastic, where masks and gloves are discarded with no measure to recycle them, adding to the depletion of the already ruined environment.
The dine-ins may have stopped since March 2020, but the online food portals have been delivering food continuously and people have rather increased their frequency of getting the food delivered as well. The outcome is an addition in the piles of single-use plastic waste.
Reduced recycling rate
While the Corona infection spread like wildfire, recycling centers closed down due to lockdowns and lack of funds. This impacted the recycling process which already was as low as a grain of sand in the ocean of plastic.
It is a known fact that if we continue our practices in the same manner, we will end up having catastrophe one after another, terminating the life from the planet.
While the major changes are irreversible, there still is a chance to stop further deterioration and it can be achieved through sustainability. We all require to abide and follow the goals of sustainable development, namely, reduce, reuse and recycle, to save our home before it is too late.
What can be done?
If you are thinking that on an individual level, there is nothing you can do or achieve for sustainability, you are mistaken. There is a lot you can do and it is the need of the hour to do so, else the planet is slipping down the doom every day.
The first thing is to make aware of the people you know of this plastic pandemic that we are dealing with and how is it taking a huge toll on our environment. Remember, it takes over 1000 years for plastic to decompose, and with the level of plastic we use every year, it will never end.
Second thing is to adopt good environmental practices, where you should contribute and spread awareness in the sustainable goals of reducing, reuse and recycle. You can start by carrying your own bags to get grocery and food items, limiting the use of single-use plastic and choosing eco-friendly items over plastic.
The third practice is to remember to buy family-sized products whenever possible, as it reduces packaging waste and with more and more families adopting this practice, the global plastic waste will come down efficiently.
Another thing is to try cooking more at home instead of ordering, as not only it reduces single-use plastic waste, also reduces the possibility of getting in contact with other people and food processed outside and getting Corona infection due to such.
The most important thing that needs to be taken care of is to dispose of used masks and gloves correctly, or else in a matter of very few years, it will surpass the number of wasted plastic bags scattered and piled across the globe.
In every possible manner, try following the goals of sustainable development and try to reduce the waste, reuse the material you have and recycle whatever you can.
(Dr Lopamudra Priyadarshini is the CSR – Cororate Social Responsibility and Sustainability leader at Utkal Alumina, Aditya Birla Group)