05 Jun 2018
Authored article: World Environment Day 2018 — “Beat Plastic Pollution”
By Ajay Sardana, Chief Sustainability Officer - Pulp and Fibre, Grasim Industries Limited, Aditya Birla Group
World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on the 5th of June every year. WED is the United Nation's principal vehiclefor encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. First held in 1974, it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution, human overpopulation, and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime.
WED has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, WED has a new themethat major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments and celebrities worldwide adopt to advocate environmental causes.
India is the global host of 2018 World Environment Day which will take place on 5 June 2018. With “Beat Plastic Pollution” as the theme for this year’s edition, the world is coming together to combat single-use plastic pollution. Since the 1950s, the rate of plastic production has grown faster than that of any other material. We have also seen a shift away from the production of durable plastic, and towards plastics that are meant to be thrown away after a single use. These single-use plastic products are everywhere. For many of us, they have become integral to our daily lives.
Most of the used plastic bottles now-a-days are routed for the manufacturing of polyester fibre, which is now the most commonly used fibre in our clothing. Polyester is non bio-degradable and will persist in the eco-system even as it eventually breaks apart. Polyester takes more than 200 years to decompose whereas cellulosic fibres biodegrade in few weeks.
How can we contribute to reduce plastic pollution and save environment
- Bring our own shopping bags to the supermarket
- Inform food suppliers to use non-plastic packaging and refuse stuff in plastic packing
- Avoid buying packaged drinking water (carry your own water bottle)
- Refuse plastic cutlery
- Pick up any plastic you see the next time you go for a walk on the beach or road
- Use of biodegradable fibres like Viscose, Modal, Lyocell and Cotton
Some of our recent initiatives towards plastic reduction are replacing plastic bottles with glass bottles, non-use of plastic cutlery, promoting recycling and awareness sessions for use of easily biodegradable cellulosic fibres over non-biodegradable fibres.