New year, new beginning. New opportunity to correct past mistakes and start anew. A chance to improve and be better. This 2024, let us include in our New Year’s resolutions things we can do for the environment. Any help, no matter how small, will go a long way in making our world a better place to live in. Here are some suggestions.
1.Minimize or avoid using bottled water. Did you know that around 480 billion plastic bottles are used worldwide every year? Plastic water bottles are made from a petroleum product called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade. So, just use glass or bring your own water container to the office or school.
2.Use reusable bags. The world uses 5 trillion plastic bags a year so don’t add any more to this mess. Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans killing marine animals and causing microplastic pollution as well. So please avoid single use plastic bags.
3.Walk or bike. For short distances, just walk or bike. It’s good for the environment and for your health. Less car on the road means less pollution and less emission of greenhouse gases that are causing global warming. Less traffic too.
4.Eat less meat. Eating less meat helps the environment because it lowers the demand for meat products, and in turn reduces the need for more land to be used for raising livestock and for growing animal feeds. Less meat also means less emission of methane, a greenhouse gas. The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization said that about 14% of all emissions come from meat and dairy production. Cutting down on meat consumption is also good for the health.
5.Reduce electricity usage. Saving electricity helps the environment by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants in the air. It also reduces our electric bill.
6.Segregate waste and do the 3Rs. Waste segregation and doing the 3Rs- reduce, reuse, recyle -will greatly reduce solid waste. The government spends a lot of money for garbage hauling and disposal in sanitary landfills. Time will come when we will run-out of land to dispose our garbage.
7.Avoid plastic straws and stirrers. These single use plastic products contribute to plastic pollution. In February 2021, the National Solid Waste Management Commission classified these two products as non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging (NEAP) in accordance with RA 9003. As such, they could be banned anytime.
And of course, plant trees. Tree planting is one of the simplest and most environmentally friendly activity that anyone can take part in. It can also be our legacy to the next generation. Happy New Year everyone!