New Delhi: 3 million trucks with garbage piled up that’s exactly the amount of untreated garbage urban India generates every day, according to the data released by the Ministry Of Environment. Of this mere 22-28 per cent of garbage is treated in India, while about 31 million tonnes of waste is left untreated and dumped in various landfill sites. According to a study published in Science Journal, India is the 12th biggest plastic polluter in the world and ranked 10th when it comes to the generation of municipal solid waste. When the crisis is of this humongous a scale, every action no matter how small matters. Here is how every individual can make a dent in India’s mountain of garbage, all it needs is a decision to make simple swaps in lifestyle.
5 Must Lifestyle Swaps To Cut Down Garbage Burden
1. Swap Plastic Cutlery With Steel And Eco-Friendly Alternatives
Say goodbye to the plastic cutlery in your kitchen and say hello to the ‘long-lost friend’ – steel tableware. Experts say plastics contain harmful supplements such as bisphenol A, which is toxic to the body in large doses and can increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer and heart disease, among other diseases in humans.
So, instead of carrying food in plastic, use steel boxes. Ditch the use of plastic containers, plates, spoons, glasses and go green by opting for steel.
Outside home, swap single-use plastic cutlery such as disposable plates, glasses, spoons and cups with eco-friendly alternatives.
2. Swap Plastic Bags With Reusable Alternatives
According to UN Environment’s latest report ‘Single-use Plastics: A Roadmap for Sustainability’ which was released in India on World Environment Day, the world consumes 5 trillion plastic bags – that is about 1 million bags a minute! Just in case you are wondering how much is it – if all the plastic bags consumed are stacked up, it would cover an area twice the size of France.
Today, plastic bags are one of the most littered items in the world and are taking a huge toll on the planet. Firstly, the bags are non-biodegradable, secondly, the single-use item takes thousands of years to decompose.
To make a difference, replace the plastic bags with reusable alternatives such as cotton bags, jute bags, canvas bags, compostable or biodegradable poly bags.
3. Swap One Bin With Three Bins
Instead of dumping all the trash mindlessly in one bin, opt for three different bins – one for wet waste which covers items from your kitchen, second for dry waste that covers items such as papers, waste packaging and third for hazardous items like e-waste and batteries. This simple process of managing waste through different bins is called waste segregation.
However, the green good deeds duty doesn’t end there – the aim should be on effective waste management. The wet waste separated should be used for the process of composting, which is nature’s own way of recycling. What you need to do is simply start putting your daily kitchen waste into a rich soil base and in few weeks your waste will be decomposed into a natural fertilizer or manure which one can further use in their gardens.
Dry waste should be sent for recycling and hazardous waste or e-waste should be sent to the e-waste recycling units.
4. Swap Sanitary Napkins And Diapers With Cloth And Eco-friendly Alternatives
Ever given it a thought – what happens to the menstrual waste or the baby diaper waste? No, right. The conventional, mass-produced menstrual and baby diaper products are one-time used products and are 90% made from plastic. That means, once disposed of, it reaches in India’s already overflowing landfills where it stays for another 1000 years as they are non-biodegradable.
Going by statistics, India produces over 1 billion non-compostable sanitary pads every month. And, this number is continuously increasing. You can stop this pollution chain, by opting for cloth pads or green alternatives available in the market.
Some of the readily available options in Indian markets are:
• Saathi Pads that are made from banana fibre and can decompose naturally in 6 months
• Sakhi pads that are made from pine wood paper, silicon paper, butter paper and can be decomposed within 8 days
• Heyday sanitary pads that are made from bamboo and corn and can decompose within six months
• Eco femme washable cloth pads
For baby diapers, SuperBottoms, Baby Hugs, Bamboo nature are some of the options available
5. Swap Decorations With Upcycled Decorative Items
Many of the decorations available are in some form of plastic, instead of flooding your house with toxins, you can do upcycling.
It is the process of turning old, unwanted products into new decorative pieces. For example, one can turn CD waste into a decorative mirror, table, mosaic tile plate, glass bottles into table lamps or flower vases.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.