Clean it. Plant it. And Forget it?

You are aware its Environment Day on June 5. You’re planning to do your bit. Round up your family, friends and neighbours and go to the nearby lake/seaside/park. Clean the place. Give a makeover.  Plant a sapling. Take that selfie. Feel good. And then forget it till next year.

 Well, that’s just the sort of lip service that one can go beyond this year.  Cleaning your surroundings, planting saplings and providing more dustbins are no doubt important. But there are others. Like taking steps to reduce plastic usage, for one.

The pervasiveness of plastic and its continuous production and consumption is daunting. Research shows that even if governments and other stakeholders stick to commitments and combat plastic pollution, we would still dispose 20-53 million metric tonnes of plastic waste into our water bodies by 2030. Meaning our current level of global commitments do not match the severity of the problem.

We do have recycling bins that expect people to dispose waste accordingly (i.e. plastic, paper, glass, food), it would be naive to assume that everything is getting recycled effectively. In reality, only 9 per cent of plastic waste is recycled as found in a recent study.

Waste is a “design flaw” and few know the consequences of a products’ design – e.g. smartphones designed in a way that it’s impossible to split up recyclable materials later. A serious approach should ideally redefine the way we design, distribute and consume products. Right from the extraction of raw materials and use in operation to eventual decommissioning and recycling, manufacturers need to be cognizant of the full impact that the design of their product would have over its lifecycle from cradle to grave.

This would require the support of effective policies and regulations that discourage the perpetual extraction of resources whilst ensuring companies are responsible for considering the entire lifecycle of their plastic products. Additionally, economic incentives that help accelerate and scale up circular actions in the economy across stakeholders and sectors is critical.

We at SYNE are committed to environment, and this year partner with Lakshmi Rama Varma Foundation to launch the Project BHOOMI campaign and further the cause of environment protection. SYNE offers transparency and easy monitoring of collected funds, making it a trusted partner for non-profits.

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