The choices we make everyday affect everything on and around this beautiful planet. From the food we eat to the plastics we purchase and dispose of, we contribute to pollution of the earth. However, by making smart choices with regards to our consumption and production, we can reduce some harmful emissions to Mother Nature.
One good idea that my Mom told me the other day is to pack a tupperware container in your purse or bag. She even proposed that it would be nice if it was collapsible.
So next time you are taking leftover food from a restaurant, you can store the food in your reusable container instead of in styrofoam or plastic, which are both difficult to recycle and end up in the ocean.
Another observation, which was inspired by a video on Facebook, is to
When I traveled to the Philippines on three occasions from 2010 to 2013, my Dad and I noticed disgusting amounts of plastic waste in the water and along the roads. These plastics do not disappear.
My dad and I also observed some auto shops dumping oil directly into the water stream when it should be recycled properly, as carcare.org suggests. This also pollutes the water that people drink from and further affects the sea life, which then returns back to the people as they consume the tainted food, leading to health complications.
Also, the runoff from agricultural fields or leaking of oil from boats can lead to contamination of water as well, which is described in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration webpage. This is even more devastating in island countries or coastal areas, where groundwater or direct sea contamination is difficult to avoid.
The lack of education and awareness in developing areas is an issue, but there is also a lack of resources that also factors in. However, by being aware of these harmful behaviors, perhaps we can spread our knowledge to these areas or even develop some plan to ameliorate these types of problems. For example,
Perhaps designing a local landfill system can help a particular area but there are complications with landfills if not properly handled, which leads to leakage into the groundwater. This article by ejnet.org discusses the pitfalls of a landfill system. There are alternatives however, as mentioned here in this gov.uk webpage. If we can develop better waste management systems, we can help implement them worldwide. There are many things we can do to help. Every little contribution helps.
We have the purchasing power when we select our foods and material things. For example,
Avoiding plastic if possible allows these materials to be likely kept on the shelves at stores and not in the environment.
as explained in Society of Conservational Biology’s webpage. Plastic water bottles should be avoided as much as possible, and instead, reusable or eco-friendly bottles can be used.
Making sure to recycle all recyclable materials is important as well.
However, it can get a little tricky sometimes since paper that is stained with food oil cannot be recycled properly due to oil contamination, as mentioned by Stanford.edu. For example, pizza boxes that are oil stained should not be recycled. Nevertheless, recycle centers usually sort these out but sometimes they miss.
Unplugging outlets of electronic accessories that are not in use can also save trickles of electricity, for example,
Fixing or reporting water leaks is also a good deed. Also, turning off the water when you are lathering yourself during showers is another way to save water and help the environment.
Every single action we make has a rippling effect that extends beyond what we see.
There are plenty of ways to help reduce pollution to the environment but I hope these examples above can help facilitate awareness of our actions when it comes to deciding whether to buy a certain product or dispose of a certain material. We can make these small choices that have profound impacts on the earth and all life.