“It is one of the easiest, but most sustainable swaps I have made”, says 24-year-old Sharada K, holding her reusable glass bottle. An engineer by education, Sharada is passionate about environmental conservation. She is especially passionate about fighting plastic pollution, which she believes is one of the biggest threats posing our environment today.
“It’s been close to two years since I’ve been carrying my bottle every time I go out, well… almost every time”, she adds. An an aspiring minimalist, this was one of the earliest changes she made in her lifestyle to reduce her plastic diet.
Sharada has always been environmentally conscious, and she gives credit to the environmental education she received at school. But what drove her to action, was a video she watched of a zero waste lifestyler Lauren Singer. “It made me realise that caring for the environment but still not attempting to give up plastics was hypocritical”. She did not want to be that person anymore and immediately started looking for alternatives. And plastic bottles were one of the easier things to substitute.
As per an article by the Guardian- A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis, some campaigners predict that will be as serious as climate change.
Every year 60 billion pounds of plastic bottles get thrown away. And while these bottles are highly recyclable, only 30% of bottles yet produced have been recycled. Their use soars across the globe, efforts to collect and recycle the bottles to keep them from polluting the oceans, have failed to keep up.
But not just her lifestyle, this has also led to a change in her perception of strangers. “People are usually nicer than we would like to believe. I just walk into restaurants and stores and ask them to refill my bottle when I run out of water, and there is no public water source around. More often than not, they do it without a fuss.”, she says with a shrug.
Moreover, she has repurposed a glass bottle that came with a drink she purchased, and uses it to carry her water around. “Plastics are not bad only because they are taking over our oceans”, she remarks, “but also because they are a hazard to our health”.
Plastic bottles commonly contain Bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disrupting toxic which can be carcinogenic while posing other threats. The toxic in the container can leach into food contents and thus enter our bodies. One study found that women with frequent miscarriages have approximately three times the blood levels of BPA as women with successful pregnancies. [source: Bryson].
“There is so much more to do, so many more plastics to give up, and I am trying, Sharada adds, “But giving up plastic bottles is something everyone can do, by being a little more conscious and remembering to carry their own reusable bottles, until it becomes a habit. I guess that’s the least we can do if we really care about changing things.”
The article is a part of the campaign #PlasticUpvaas by Chintan and Canadian High Commission in India. The campaign aims to tackle plastic pollution by encouraging consumers to reduce their plastic footprint by giving up one single-use plastic. December 12 will be observed as the #PlasticUpvaas Day when participants would be encouraged to live without single use plastics for a day. They can, then, choose to entirely give up one single use plastic of their choice thenafter.
To join us in this fast, take the pledge here: https://plastic-upvaas-dev-jhatkaa.herokuapp.com/