Let’s chan­ge our ha­bits for Mot­her Earth

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Briewe | Letters - Elai­ne King | elai­ne@grou­pe­di­tors.co.za

A­ma­zing that e­very month or day is a so­mething day w­het­her it be fat­her, mot­her, all sorts of il­l­nes­ses, you na­me it – and then we ha­ve w­ho­le mont­hs de­di­ca­ted to mo­re than one cau­se t­he­se days.

U­su­al­ly I dump press re­le­a­ses. In our old-jour­na­list lin­go I “spi­ke” the s­to­ry, which u­sed to me­an you ac­tu­al­ly got the sa­tis­facti­on of ta­king a lou­sy s­to­ry and stab­bing it on­to a big spi­ke, go­ne fo­re­ver – but we no lon­ger ha­ve spi­kes or bins from which to de­ri­ve t­his spi­te­ful ple­a­su­re so a de­le­te but­ton on a com­pu­ter has to do.

As my fin­ger ho­ve­r­ed o­ver “de­le­te” w­hen I saw t­his press re­le­a­se from I HE­ART PR, I re­ad furt­her and got hook­ed.

O­kay, so Wor­ld En­vi­ron­men­tal He­alth Day was on 26 Sep­tem­ber and t­his pu­blic re­la­ti­ons com­pa­ny is mil­king that an­gle, but so­me of it is very re­le­vant, in­te­res­ting and e­ven sca­ry.

Ac­cor­ding to t­his press re­le­a­se, a­round the wor­ld, 1-mil­li­on plas­tic bott­les are boug­ht e­ach mi­nu­te, and an es­ti­ma­ted 8-bil­li­on me­tric tons (the weig­ht of a­bout 25 000 Em­pi­re Sta­te Buil­dings or 1 bil­li­on e­lep­hants) of plas­tic ends up in the o­ce­an e­very y­e­ar.

Tips of­fe­red in­clu­de the fol­lo­wing:

Kick the plas­tic ha­bit as plas­tic is one of the big­ge­st e­ne­mies to the en­vi­ron­ment to­day and a mu­ni­ci­pal was­te di­sas­ter. Sin­ce synt­he­tic plas­tic doe­sn’t bi­o­de­gra­de, it just pi­les up in land­fills and is re­gu­lar­ly e­a­ten by va­ri­ous sea and land a­ni­mals, with fa­tal con­se­quen­ces. One of the big­ge­st con­tri­bu­tors is dis­po­sa­ble wa­ter bott­les and plas­tic bags. So, try to keep a fil­led, reusa­ble wa­ter bott­le with you w­hen you’re on the go to a­void ha­ving to grab a dis­po­sa­ble one in the gro­ce­ry li­ne, and keep a stock of shop­ping bags in your boot or hand­bag.

Get wa­ter-wi­se, be­cau­se as Ca­pe Town re­si­dents pre­pa­re them­sel­ves for Le­vel 5 wa­ter re­stricti­ons and with fi­nes for non­com­pli­an­ce in the a­rea of R5 000 to R10 000, it is a re­min­der to all of us of the se­ve­re con­se­quen­ce of was­ting wa­ter.

Get com­pos­ting – and w­hat could be sim­pler? The veg­gie peels and the rest of the or­ga­nic was­te you accu­mu­la­te on a dai­ly ba­sis is rig­ht in front of you. If you think it sounds li­ke a hu­ge schlep, at le­ast gi­ve so­me of it to the hun­gry Knys­na a­ni­mals.

Get re­cy­cling as mo­re and mo­re plas­tic, pa­per and glass col­lecti­on points are sprin­ging up all o­ver South A­fri­ca, so be su­re to ma­ke a con­s­ci­ous ef­fort to find out w­he­re tho­se ne­a­rest to you are. Ma­ny “pic­kers” on SA’s streets (and the e­ver­gro­wing num­ber of car guards on the Knys­na streets) will al­so be hap­py to ta­ke t­he­se ma­te­ri­als to the col­lecti­on point in ex­chan­ge for much-nee­ded cash.

How hard is t­his re­al­ly, sin­ce the Knys­na mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty pro­vi­des black bags for all rub­bish and see-through brow­nish bags for re­cy­cling? All t­his ta­kes is dis­ci­pli­ne to sort g­ar­ba­ge.

Gi­ve old techno­lo­gy a new le­a­se of li­fe as pho­ne bat­te­ries and e­lec­tro­nic com­po­nents that find their way to land­fills can be ex­tre­me­ly tox­ic to the sur­roun­ding en­vi­ron­ment, so find an al­ter­na­ti­ve way to dis­po­se of them. Look for cha­ri­ty shops in your a­rea that buy and sell se­cond-hand goods. T­hey are ex­tre­me­ly re­sour­ce­ful and of­ten ha­ve pe­op­le that can fix old cel­lp­ho­nes, prin­ters and ot­her e­lec­tro­ni­cs, or, at the very le­ast, dis­po­se of them in an en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly re­spon­si­ble way.

“We are a wor­ld­wi­de com­mu­ni­ty of 7.5-bil­li­on pe­op­le. T­his brings with it mas­si­ve pe­op­le po­wer to chan­ge our si­tu­a­ti­on for the bet­ter. If e­ach of us im­ple­ments just a few of t­he­se tips in­to our e­ver­y­day li­ves and think twi­ce be­fo­re ca­re­les­sly thro­wing t­hings a­way or u­sing un­ne­ces­sa­ry po­wer, we’d be doing our pla­net, and our poc­kets, a mas­si­ve fa­vour,” con­clu­des the press re­le­a­se.

The­re are ma­ny web­si­tes and Fa­ce­book pa­ges that of­fer e­a­sy tips on how to im­ple­ment sim­ple c­han­ges for the good of the en­vi­ron­ment. Why not do your own re­se­arch and find so­lu­ti­ons that work for you? C’mon Knys­na, let’s be the chan­ge!

Elai­ne King

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