Beat Plastic Pollution, the theme for World Environment Day 2018, is a call to action for the world to come together to combat one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time.
Time and again, environmentalists have cried hoarse about climate change, pollution and the reality that the world, as we know it, might cease to end. Yet, the repeated calls to rectify our actions, reduce the carbon footprint, and switch to an alternative eco-friendly lifestyle have brought little change.
Shockingly, researchers estimate that more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the early 1950s against the present population of 7.62 billion. About 60 percent of that plastic has ended up in either a landfill or the natural environment.
It is a reality that plastics today have become an integral part of our lives. The day starts with a plastic toothbrush, goes on to driving on plastic-made roads, and often ends on a pillow with components of plastic.
To shun plastic completely is perhaps a very difficult task, especially in areas such as medical treatment and food preservation.
Although only 9 percent of plastics has been recycled globally till date, many governments are now banning the use of single-use plastics or disposable plastics. Single-use plastics are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. The list includes items such as plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles, and most food packaging.
Traditional alternatives such as metal and glass are now being utilised, and new materials that are better for the environment and have the potential to help us end our plastic addiction have entered the market. All these changes can be attributed to growing awareness, which highlights the plight of the planet in real time due to humans' abuse of resources.
To combat the growing menace, India, on the occasion of World Environment Day 2018, is inviting every individual to consider how we can make changes in our daily lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health.
We feature just a few of the photographs that have made a strong impact; photos that have forced people to rethink their duty towards the sustenance of our environment/planet.