One of our biggest responsibilities as human beings is to look after planet Earth. The planet is slowly perishing as a result of many generations’ negligence to take care of it. Nevertheless, we continue to pollute our precious planet. It’s time to take a stand.
Pollution is “the presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance which has harmful effects”, according to Oxford Dictionary.
We harm the earth and everything living on it by polluting the soil, water, and air. Accordingly, there are three main types of pollution:
- Land pollution
- Water pollution
- Air pollution
All three types of pollution harm Earth in adverse ways. These pollution types also harm people – toxic pollution, for instance, affects more than 200 million people worldwide, causing illnesses, birth defects, and more.
The good news is that it is never too late to start making a difference, however.
Here are a few practical ways to save our planet and its inhabitants.
Use less plastic
Plastic has countless harmful effects on animals and the environment. Take the Pacific trash vortex, for instance. It is a massive gyre in the Pacific Ocean of at least 700 000 km² (about the size of Turkey or Texas, USA). This floating garbage patch kills marine life at an alarming rate.
Here are some tips on using less plastic:
- Rather buy milk, cool drink or water in glass bottles.
- When a plastic item breaks, try to repair it instead of buying a new one.
- Take reusable shopping bags along when you go shopping, especially if it’s groceries.
- Stop using plastic straws – carry glass or copper straws with you.
- Give up chewing gum. (Did you know almost all chewing gum is made of plastic?)
- Carry reusable utensils, water bottles and travel mugs with you wherever you go.
- Use bar soap instead of liquid hand soap.
- When possible, rather buy bread in paper bags.
- Stop buying frozen convenience foods.
- Choose a stainless steel ice cube tray.
- Avoid buying new CDs and DVDs. Rather download movies, music, and PC games.
- If you have to use plastic, recycle it afterwards.
First and most important of all, never ever litter!
Below are some practical tips on preventing litter:
- If you see litter, pick it up. Set an example!
- When visiting the beach or the park, never leave rubbish lying around – whether it’s your own or your friends’.
- Don’t throw anything out of the car window when driving (rather keep a litterbag in your car).
- Participate in or organise clean-ups of your local neighbourhood, park or beach.
- If you’re a smoker, throw your cigarette stumps away instead of leaving them on the ground.
- When walking your dog, pick up after your dog.
- Find out how you can plant flowers along a pavement. People litter less where areas have been beautified.
Reduce air pollution
Every time we drive in cars, use our air conditioner, clean our windows, or even switch on a light, we contribute to air pollution. So be more conscious and make small changes to help keep the air cleaner:
- Save electricity: turn off lights, computers, and electric appliances when not in use.
- Use of alternative sources of energy, such as solar energy.
- Dry clothes on a clothesline instead of using a dryer.
- As far as possible, walk, cycle or carpool instead of driving.
- Do regular car check-ups to ensure that they don’t use more fuel than necessary.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid using air conditioning – opt for fans in summer, and cosy blankets in winter.
- Buy rechargeable batteries.
- Buy items made from recycled materials.
- Choose environmentally friendly household cleaners.
- Use a rake or broom instead of a leaf blower.
- Plant indoor plants – they act as natural air filters, absorbing toxins and “digesting” the pollution.
What other ways can you think of to reduce pollution? Let me know by leaving a comment.