“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
-George Bernard Shaw
Plastic became such an integral part of our daily lives that we overlooked how harmful it is for the planet we live in. Did you know that 1 trillion use-and-throw plastic bags are utilized globally? These are not biodegradable and create clutter in the environment, causing a long-term crisis. They affect wildlife both on land and water.
In 2018, there was a hue and cry to end the consumption of single-use plastic bags. Non-reusable plastic straws were done away with and eco-friendly carry bags were introduced in grocery stores. However, New Zealand took a rather bold but necessary step and banned single-use plastic on August 10th, 2018. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared in a press conference that the government will be giving six months to companies to look for alternative options that are not harmful to the environment.
She claimed that it is important to leave behind a healthier planet for future generations so that they don’t have to face the same crisis as we do. As it is, we have ruined the entire natural cycle thanks to global warming. Now, we have to check our ecological footprints. New Zealand used more than 700 million plastic bags in a year, which amounted to more than a hundred bags per denizen. The marketing people have enough time to come up with better strategies to combat the need for one-time use bags. If they fail to do so, the penalty can be worth $100,000.
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Why this radical change, you may wonder. Ardern interacted with children and found that increasing plastic waste was a huge issue that bothered them. They expressed their concern for the marine and coastal life, that is in danger. Isn’t it funny that the children understood something so grave and the adult population of New Zealand didn’t bat an eyelid prior to that?
In 2002, Bangladesh became the first country to ban single-use plastic bags. A lot of countries got inspired and did the same. New Zealand is the 15th country to implement the ban.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world’. Let’s make this world a better place, both you and I.
IMAGE CREDIT: kwangmoo