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On World Earth Day, make these 5 small changes to save the planet

It’s World Earth Day 2018, a time to take stock of things that we can do to protect the environment from pollution. From carpooling to switching to biodegradable products and planting more trees, here are 5 simple steps that can make a difference.

more lifestyle Updated: Apr 22, 2018 11:09 IST
Indo Asian News Service
World Earth Day,Lifestyle,Earth Day
The net cooling effect of a tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners that operate 20 hours a day.(Shutterstock)

Earth is home to around 8.7 million species who have lived and evolved on this planet across time immemorial. It is a vibrant place but it is also in grave danger from environmental degradation. Plastic usage in India has grown to a stage where the country has been rated as the 12th biggest plastic polluter in the world.

As this year’s Earth Day theme focuses on “Ending Plastic Pollution”, it’s time to take a step forward and replace plastic and styrofoam with biodegradable products. Here are five suggestions to achieve a sustainable environment in the years to come:

Using carpools and local transportation services automatically limits the number of automobiles on the road. (Shutterstock)

* Stop using plastic: While there are reports on the harm caused to the soil, environment, water, marine and human life due to the use of plastic, the decline in its use is not as much as it should have been. With microplastic being ingested by marine life and human beings, the situation is alarming. Plastic takes more than 500 years to decompose. As per reports, 79% of the plastic produced over the last 70 years has been thrown away, either into landfill sites or into the general environment. Just nine per cent is recycled.

* Switch to carpools: One of the biggest factors for the increase in our carbon footprint is pollution by automobiles. The rising number of cars is not only a nuisance but a major source of harmful green house gases. Using carpools and local transportation services automatically limits the number of automobiles on the road.

* Create behavioural change: While governments in some states have banned plastic, the steps taken are not enough to stop plastic usage across the country. There is a need to educate and sensitise the masses about the harmful effects of plastic and styrofoam. While plastic usage not only affects the environment, the carcinogens emitted from styrofoams can also cause cancer.

* Shift to biodegradable products: While plastic takes years and years to decompose, biodegradable products can decompose within months of disposal. These products are fully compostable and turn into manure for the soil. It is important to provide the world with “good garbage” by using compostable products instead of plastic. Plastic bags can be substituted with paper bags, while plastic covers can be replaced with cloth or paper covers. And most importantly, the use of plastic and styrofoam tableware products, which is dominating the India food consumer market, needs to be replaced by biodegradable tableware.

* Plant more trees: From lowering air temperature to absorbing carbon dioxide — the benefits of trees are innumerable. The net cooling effect of a tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners that operate 20 hours a day. Trees also help save energy.

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First Published: Apr 22, 2018 11:09 IST