World Environment Day: Dia Mirza says sustainable development’s key to a healthier planet!
Actor Dia Mirza has been continuously working towards increasing awareness about choices that all of us need to make at macro and micro level, collectively and individually to preserve, protect and if possible, restore the environment. On World Environment Day, Mirza, who is the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador and United Nations Secretary-General Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals and Global Ambassador IFAW, feels the connection between sustainable development and collective well-being has been established by the pandemic undeniably.
“Sustainable development is the key to a healthier planet and environmental degradation and climate change impact each one of us. The challenge is not just that subjects like eco-fragility and environmental degradation do not engage enough of us but that even a pandemic seems to not have woken us up to the urgency of climate change,” she explains.
Perhaps most people think climate issues are too overwhelming to tackle, feels Mirza adding, all of us can start small. She suggests, “Something as small as segregating your waste, cutting down on single use plastic usage, carrying your own water bottle and choosing green products can make a huge difference. So many individuals are showing the way to change and I am hopeful that we can turn this toxic tide. We need to not look away from the problem when it is in plain sight, and find actionable solutions. Unless we turn the clock back on climate change, we are headed towards devastation. Some signs of that fall out are already visible all around. According to new research by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people concerned about the environment in the past five years, especially after the coronavirus. More people are willing to make individual choices that demonstrate our commitment to restoring the balance of nature.”
While there has been reduction in road pollution due to lockdown and the pandemic, plastic pollution has risen since 2020 with disposable cutlery, plastic wrappings, and disposable masks being discarded. Talking about how can we help in this situation, Mirza says, “It is common sense not to create a problem in response to a problem. We don’t need to be a botanist, a biologist, a scientist or an environmentalist, to make well-informed choices. So use washable/reusable masks (now with the double mask rule proper disposal of surgical masks will be of greater importance), reduce the usage of plastic where you can. Last year, I used washable/reusable masks, unless I was travelling. We shopped for vegetables and fruits without plastic packaging, refused plastic bags, carried our own metal water bottles, and refused all disposable single time plastics.”