All around the world, the way of doing things is rapidly mutable due to the dynamic era of technology and access to internet.
This is especially evident in developing countries.
Traditional ways of transportation is now an alternate to modern vehicles and aircrafts.
Communication through letters, drums, physical dissemination of information are now a replacement for emails, mobile phones, skype, websites and social media among others. This is BECAUSE these changes make life easier and more convenient for humanity.
But single-use plastics at source?
Traditionally, many decades ago, farmers used corn husks, plantain leaves, banana leaves and “kontomire” leaves to wrap food stuffs and other packages even for commercial purposes.
Among others, cotton clothes, ropes, bamboo sticks, pottery, wood, tree gums as well as some tree cords were used to wrap belongings for travelling and carrying household chores like fetching water.
Such materials though not thoroughly convenient created an enabling environment devoid of filth. This was due to the ability to wash the cotton clothes and ropes for reuse.
This practices took place in majority of African countries, parts of Asia and among some inhabitants residing in coastal Europe and Islands.
The emergence of plastics
The first fully- synthetic, commercially successful plastics was invented by Leo Hendrik Baekeland in 1909. – (wonderopolis.org).
According to reports, the invention of plastics open up a whole new possibilities around the world for the manufacturing industries such as the automobile parts, telephones, kitchenware as well as the field of medicine.
As at 2017, a study released by Science Advances says humans have produced 8.3 billion metric of plastics since 1950, with most production for single-use.
Though making life more convenient and solution oriented, plastics do not biodegrade. Researchers warn, that unless radical action is taken, humans might end up having more plastic trash than fish in the ocean by 2050!
This is the reason various campaign to ban single-use plastics should be taken seriously.
Ghana should not ignore the effective steps by some African countries to ban single use plastics bags. As at May 2018, ten African countries have so far ban single-use plastics bags including Kenya, Rwanda and Morocco.
Almost 90 per cent of items used on a daily basis have a sort of plastic.
Beating plastic pollution
What other type of materials can single-use plastics at source be made of? In other words, what alternatives can be offered for single-use plastic materials at source?
Perhaps society need to make a conscious effort to go back to traditional ways of wrapping/ packaging with husks, leaves and non-plastic materials that are biodegradable.
Secondly, to start with, school going children should be provided with potable reusable drinking bottles as well as lunch bowls. This will go a long way, a step at a time, in eradicating eye-saw littering of single use plastics.
Furthermore, tax/levy should be imposed on import/ sale of single use plastics in order to discourage consumers from patronizing it. Supermarkets should provide biodegradable bags for shoppers at a cost instead of free single-use plastics that are likely to end up in the ocean.
Can we carry hand sanitisers to clean our hands with so we can traditionally eat with our fingers should we forget to carry our various cutleries? Or hand washers? Oh wait a minute! These stuffs contain plastic too! Oopsee!
Nevertheless we just have to carry our metal cutleries along always. It’s that simple and will do us a lot of good. Cheers to consistent efforts!
Traditionally about thirty decades ago in Ghana, iced blocks are put in a clean bucket of water with lid and cups on top while the vendor carry it on her head, moving from one customer to the other using a particular cup to fetch drinking water from the bucket as she serves clients.
Thise was seen mostly in busy bus stations across the country.
Over time, the emergence of communicable diseases and the proliferation of HIV triggered a ban on such filtered way of branding drinkable water.
Now, this account is of no way trying to suggest that we go back to such practice. However, when the sachets of water are littered all over major roads and cities across the streets of Ghana, what can substitute such menace?
Perhaps every corporate worker should carry along a biodegradable cup to work to cease the use of single use plastic cups at the dispenser fridge.
What about encouraging consumers to keep their plastic/ dispenser bottles for collecting at a cost for recycling.
There is no single street in Accra devoid of sachet water trash.
It is important that we be each other’s keeper on the streets.
We should be bold to educate people in our sphere of contact who litter ignorantly.
We should embrace sustainable reusable products that are not dangerous to health and the environment. Let us clinch to recycling while creating alternatives of single use plastics.
Let the earth be greener again!
Source: GNN Correspondent.