Did you know that 1 million plastic bottles are sold around the world every minute? Or did you know that 500 billion plastic bags are used in a year? Have you heard that 8 million tons of plastic pollute the oceans every year and the amount of waste plastic mixing in the ocean every minute is as big as a garbage truck? Plastics, which are a necessary part of life, are unfortunately increasing environmental pollution. The Sustainable Production and Consumption Association gave 10 suggestions to reduce our plastic footprint on June 5 World Environment Day.
Plastics have an irreplaceable role in all areas of our lives from cellphones, planes and pillboxes to tooth brushes and artificial cardiac valves. Plastics which bring comfort, easiness, speed and quality to our lives are causing environmental pollution due to misuse and overuse. Each of us is causing a "plastic foot print" with plastics that we use and waste. But is it possible to reduce?
Mobilization to reduce single-use plastics
People need to stop using single-use plastics like straws to prevent more pollution.
President of Sustainable Production and Consumption Association and Lecturer at Istanbul University professor Dr. Filiz Karaosmanoğlu said that the theme of this year's World Environment Day was chosen as "Beat Plastic Pollution" by the United Nations.
Stating that the world has come together to fight against the pollution of single-use plastics, Karaosmanoğlu emphasized that we, too, have to declare a mobilization to stop the pollution of single-use plastics in our country.
In addition to underlining that plastic products are quite important for our lives, she said, "We have to be conscious using plastics, which are valuable materials. We have to consume a plastic bottle as being aware that it can remain intact in water for 450 years. We have to reduce single-use plastics in the first place and then refuse to use them later. We have to end the consumption of single-use plastics."
More plastics produced in last 10 years than previous 100
Karaosmanoğlu emphasized that more plastics have been produced in the last 10 years than the total of the previous 100 years, and waste plastics constitute 10 percent of all the waste, according to the figures announced by the United Nations.
Plastic bottles completely cover the water line of the Kalamu River which runs through the center of the city in Kinshasa.
Stating that reducing the use of plastics is not possible through punishment or limitation, she added that we can reduce our plastic foot print to environment-friendly levels through adopting sustainable consumption lifestyles.
Watering bowls out of plastic containers for stray animals
Stating that half of the plastics we use are single-use only and are wasted, Karaosmanoğlu gave 10 suggestions to reduce our plastic foot print to prevent environmental pollution:
We should use stainless forks, spoons and knives instead of plastic ones.
We should stop using plastic straws.
We should bring our own shopping nets or cotton bags when going out for shopping.
In our offices, we should consume tea and coffee in cups that we bring from home instead of plastic cups or paper cups which are covered with plastic.
Instead of drinking water out of plastic bottles, we should own a flask or a water bottle.
We should prefer biodegradable tooth brushes.
We should reuse containers of dish-washing soaps, laundry detergents and liquid soaps. For that, we should buy detergents and cleaning supplies in big bottles and refill our small bottles.
We should use cotton swabs as needed.
Before sending plastic packages to recycling, we should think about how we can benefit from them at home. We should extend their lifetimes. Housewives can make flowerpots or watering and food bowls for stray animals out of plastic containers.
We should not see plastics that we use as waste. We should leave them to recycling boxes knowing that they are one of the significant raw materials of recycling in a circular economy.