Are you an anti-plastic warrior? Yesterday as part of World Environment Day, Singapore showed that they are out to #BeatPlasticPollution in support of the UN Environment by raising awareness of plastic pollution and call widely for action.
Did you know that on average a person uses a plastic carrier bag for just 12 minutes and that bag will take over 500 years to decompose? Every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some form or another and there are more than 8 million tons of plastic going into the ocean every year! It’s time to step up and take action.
“IF YOU CAN’T REUSE IT, REFUSE IT!” – ANTI PLASTIC WARRIORS
Using art in the war against plastic
City Developments Limited and Global Initiatives, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, launched a series of ‘live’art installations using discarded plastic bottles. The aim is to achieve Singapore’s Book of Records for the highest number of plastic bottles used in an outdoor art installation at Marina Barrage, with over 200 community artists using over 20,000 recycled plastic bottles from 1 June and to be completed by June 25. Two smaller installations will also be presented at South Beach and City Square Mall.
No longer business as usual
Senior Minister of State for the Environment Dr. Amy Khor announced the commitments to tackle marine litter and plastic pollution, mentioning the important role businesses are playing: “By 2021, we will make it mandatory for businesses to report on their packaging waste and their waste reduction plans. Retailers, including supermarkets, may be required to report the number of plastic bags they use and their plans for reduction. I am glad that some companies are already reducing plastic waste on their own accord. I commend the Millennium Hotels and Resorts (MHR) group for pledging to eliminate single-use plastics from all of its local hotels by June next year, and Hilton for eliminating plastic straws from all their managed properties by the end of this year.”
Cutting down on single-use plastic that cannot be reused should be the motto from today, especially for businesses who have a much larger environmental impact. Dr Amy Khor insisted on the fact that “The recycling rate for plastic has remained at 6% annually in Singapore. Hence, we need to collectively step up efforts to reduce plastic consumption.” Hear hear.
The rise and strength of grassroots movements
#BeatPlasticPollution campaign comes several months after local NGO Zero Waste SG launched it’s Bring Your Own campaign, to encourage Singaporeans to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. It invites us all to consider how if we all make few changes in our daily lives, we can reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our wildlife – and our own health. Gotta love those #littlegreensteps!
A wave of change has also been ignited by passionate individuals who no longer wish to sit back and wait for change to happen. Environmental advocate and fitness influencer Liv Lo was spurred into action by the statement of Dr. Amy Khor saying that a plastic levy was not a plausible solution in Singapore, to encourage Dr. Khor and her team to find alternative solutions by launching an ‘Anti-Plastic Petition‘.
Liv said “We issue this petition on World Environment Day to the absence of plans for a levy on plastic bags, or any meaningful legislation to curb the prodigious usage of them in our country. If they want us (individuals) to be responsible for it, it’s not okay to say stop using it, but we’re going to keep making it and supplying it. There needs to be a bigger solution.” The petition, which is supported by WWF, had with over 1000 people sign in the first 24 hours, which Liv says “quite literally shows that positive change can happen overnight“.
It’s time to stop sucking Singapore, it’s time for the final straw
Two other groups have come together to tackle the plastic straw epidemic in Singapore. Jonathan Tostevin, of The Final Straw, released a report on ‘Tackling Plastic Straw Consumption in Singapore: A Fact Base of Straw Usage Attitudes Towards Alternatives‘ which shared that we use 2.2 million straws a day! They want to ignite change and consumption in the F&B industry which you can read all about here.
Charles Pitts, Founder of Purnama Outreach, recently launched the no plastic straws campaign Straw Wars, after a scuba diving trip which brought the issue painfully to home. A big believer in the power of #LittleGreenSteps Charles shared “We understand that not everyone, both individuals and businesses, are ready to completely eliminate plastic straws in one fell swoop. Our aim is to start with awareness of the problem of plastics straws and other single-use plastics. For individuals that share our concern, take our No Straws Pledge. For businesses, we simply want to start with a 30-day pledge to only offer plastic straws upon request. We hope this will start the dialog and set the path for organic change.”
So, friends, are you ready to break up with plastic?
Everyone can join this conscious movement with daily lives little green steps and here are a few you can try today.
- Avoid products in plastic packaging
- Carrying reusing shopping bags
- Say no to all plastic-bottled beverages
- Refuse plastic that escapes as litter (straws, takeaway cups, utensils)
- Recycle what cannot be avoided
- Sign the anti-plastic petition
Every single decision has an impact on the world, it’s time to live more consciously. What plastic habit are you going to break? Share your ideas on with us on social media @GITNBasia and using the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution.
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