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How can we make this world environment day more meaningful?

World Environment Day NHCM

Every day in the calendar is celebrated as a certain day, right? Some seem very pivotal to social sensitizing, while others come across as nonchalant and uneventful.

Where would we categorize World Environment Day celebrated on the 5th of June every year? Obviously, as the need of the hour, that is crying out from rooftops for attention and understanding. As academicians, youth, and the future of tomorrow, it becomes a greater responsibility for every student to do their little bit towards environmental protection.

“The hopes of the world rest on young people.” – UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

This year marks the 50th edition of World Environment Day and the theme for World Environment Day 2023 is #BeatPlasticPollution.

What do we have as statistics?

  1. 1Currently, one out of every three fish harvested for human consumption contains plastic, and each year, marine plastic pollution kills 100,000 marine mammals, turtles, and seabirds.
  2. In our oceans now, there are more than 5 trillion bits of plastic floating around.
  3. One ton of plastic production results in the production of 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide.
  4. Plastic makes up 80% of all examined marine debris.
  5. In the ocean, a plastic bottle can persist for 450 years before slowly disintegrating into ever-tinier particles that will never completely vanish.
  6. Every year, more than 400 million tons of plastic are produced, half of which are intended for single-use applications.
  7. Less than ten percent of the plastic is recycled. 19–23 million tons are thought to wind up in lakes, rivers, and oceans.
  8. Plastic is one of the greatest risks to the earth today because it fills up our landfills, leaks into the ocean, and burns into toxic smoke.

How can you make a difference?

  1. Let us go back to the way our grandparents had a bath, bucket, and mug and measured liters of water, instead of the shower on and you lost under the water spray.
  2. Turn off gadgets and unplug them. Did you know ‘vampire energy drain’ is a real hazard, where power is consumed even when it is switched off but plugged in?
  3. As a reward for scoring well, teens are gifted cars to college. Haven’t you seen the parking lot in your colleges? Fancy SUVs and Sedans occupy most places. It makes for an eco-friendly style statement to cycle to college with safety gear adorned. Look for a carpool group on your campus. It will be so much fun, and you will have reduced your carbon footprint dramatically.
  4. Eco-friendly products could be an option? Yes, very much. Buy local produce, and refrain from ordering goods online that come with multiple layers of packaging material.
  5. BYOB – (Bring your own bottle) Carry a foldable bag for unexpected shopping, a steel straw for the summer tender coconut stops, and a water bottle to refill in college coolers. Small efforts, in the long run, will empower you to become an environmental warrior.
  6. Do not hoard stuff-whether clothes, gadgets, shoes, or anything else. Today there are so many platforms that sell sparingly used domestic and utility wares. Heard of a ‘Lets Deklutter-BLR’ WhatsApp group or Facebook marketplace? An easy way to sell all the things that don’t come in handy anymore and pick up necessary things.
  7. Donate generously if you cannot sell it for a price. What may not be of use to you may be much needed for another. The joy in giving can only be felt not told.
  8. Create awareness through many social media platforms. Post pictures of the large-scale garbage dump in your neighborhood or the speeding truck filling the air with the thick black smoke. Be a part of an environmental group and add value to your life and lifestyle.
  9. When confronted with a disturbing visual, do not walk away. Take action. Contact the elected representative of the locale, corporator, or an MLA. Talk to them and make them accountable for finding a resolution.
  10. Take the initiative to set up a book bank on the premises. This way, as every semester closes, those books can be sold and bought at a much lesser price, and you have done your bit to stop paper production.
  11. Getting your vehicles serviced, emission tested, and in good condition to avoid air pollution and damage to the ozone layer is another way.
  12. Plant trees in your home, neighborhood, and college campus as a fun activity. You will be amazed at the way it grows, not just bearing fruit, and giving a green cover but will stand tall as a symbol of your sensitivity and awareness to save the planet.
  13. Organise awareness programs in your locality to brief people on garbage disposal measures and how to set up compost pits out of their daily green waste. Plan an event, invite sustainable living practitioners to demonstrate their routine, and have stalls to promote green products. You are bringing the community together, raising the fun quotient, and above all, initiating people into slowly changing their long-established habits that cause harm to the environment.
  14. Vehicle-free roads on Sundays? Heard of this? This is an initiative by the local corporators of each ward to create a vehicle-free corridor to promote walking and improve air quality. Inspired by other countries, Indian metropolitan cities have begun this enterprise to sensitize people on the urgent need to save the planet and recreate the bygone times when vehicles were not a menace and an environmental hazard.

How can you as a student add value to it? If your locale hasn’t seen one such event yet, you could mobilize a team of residents and be involved in putting it together.

The sense of purpose and joy would be immense.

Educational institutions play a vital role in inculcating awareness and encouraging students to understand their responsibilities towards environmental causes. We have innumerable examples of young boys and girls who are already leading the way and braving the odds to fight this cause.

New Horizon College of Engineering celebrated International Environment Day on its campus, with the team from Vimove’-with the theme-The Art of Conscious Living –Alternative-2023. The team has created a sustainable living video that has approval from the BMRCL to be played in all the metro stations. Throughout the session, the young team shared their experiences and inspired the students to rise up to the need of the hour and work harder to slow down the environmental depletion and help reduce the plastic waste generated.

Hold this as the mantra: Reuse, Recycle, Reduce.

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