Asia: Innovative Ways to a Greener Planet

Jul 4, 2019 | 360, Asia, BIZ, GOV, NEWS

East Asia DeskKari.Amarnani author

Trash Collected at Coastal Spain – Art Installation by Tadashi Kawamata | Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Save the world and forever cut plastic out of your life with these innovative measures

An estimate of nine million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year. Let that sink in. Nine million. With that, thousands of marine animals suffer the consequences of people’s actions. Food, water and air start getting riddled with pollution, and sooner or later, the world starts becoming uninhabitable— an outcome that could be avoidable through awareness and discipline. Must we wait until it’s too late?

Many countries in Asia agonize with their accumulation and management of waste as it holds some of the most populated countries in the world. Luckily, Asia is taking small, concrete steps in reducing its plastic usage. It may take some time for definite change to occur, but even the tiniest of progress is still growth. 

Asia’s daily practices for a flourishing planet:

1. Use metal straws

Plastic straws might seem small and insignificant, I mean, what harm could a tiny sliver of plastic do? Here’s some perspective: if the United States consumes 500 million plastic straws in a day and Australia consumes 10 million plastic straws in a day, how much could Asia, the largest continent in the world, produce daily? Talk about the worst math problem in the world. This is taking into account its tropical weathers and infamous hard labor, of course. The answer is… you don’t want to know. Invest in a metal straw and the earth will thank you for it. Carry some wet wipes too and wash it regularly.

Ice Coffee with Metal Straw - Mark Pazolli

Ice Coffee with Metal Straw | Mark Pazolli

2. Actively say “no” to unnecessary plastic

When it’s 3AM and you need Chinese food during your emotional rom-com binge, be sure to inform the delivery handler not to send over plastic utensils. If you have your own set that easily just needs a little washing, there’s no need to participate in the unnecessary usage of plastic. You might think, “Well, the plastic’s already there. What’s the point?” If every single person said they didn’t want the plastic utensils, the restaurant would stop ordering them altogether. If you’re going out, bring wooden utensils and keep them clean yourself. It starts with one person. Be that person.

3. Carry canvas bags and muslin pouches when shopping

Don’t waste any storage bags whether paper or plastic when you shop, it’s easy, convenient and cheaper to just bring your own bags and pouches. Muslin pouches are perfect for fruits and vegetables because of its breathable fabric. It will all stay fresh and delicious by the time you get home. The bags need to be washed frequently, but hey, it’s a small price to pay when you’re thinking long-term.

Small Steps to Large Leaps: Businesses and Institutions Fight for Green Initiative

Businesses can no longer avoid the public uproar regarding damages to the environment, especially when most of the contributors happen to be large corporations that dump tremendous amounts of waste in oceans and landfills. These cries are not going unacknowledged; many corporations in Asia have started going green. Whether it’s to genuinely help the environment or stay on the right side of public opinion, it’s a plus.

1. Godrej

Godrej is a conglomerate based in Mumbai that holds consumer products, engineering equipment, chemicals and agricultural goods. They are so invested in sustainability that 24% of all revenue goes to environmental organizations and initiatives. Godrej aims to be carbon-neutral to reduce its consumption of energy while growing its use of recyclables. It utilizes green software to analyze its environmental footprints in all its processes. To them, success as a company is linked with social progress. If only everyone thought this way, huh?

2. Fuji Xerox

Fuji Xerox is a Tokyo-based company that deals with consumer products and one of their most important values as a business is to be environmentally conscious. The company has dedicated itself to sustainability since its early roots. It established an Ecology and Safety Vision which aids in resource and energy-saving practices, as well as, environmental marketing. Rest assured, plastic factors no way into the equation whatsoever. 

Businesses are not the only ones making an effort for the environment. Akshar Forum is a unique school in Assam, a state in India, that accepts the donation of plastic as school fees. Every week, all students must bring 20 items of plastic each to retain their enrollment in the school. Additionally, parents must take a pledge not to burn any plastics otherwise their child gets expelled from the school. 

This policy has definitely raised awareness and assisted in the unified discipline all communities need. Students are also paid to stuff plastic pieces in large plastic bottles to create a solid brick-like item that can be used in the formation of buildings and pathways.

With enough determination and hard work, a real transformation lies in the midst. Say no to plastic and say yes to a healthy planet.