The Covid-19 crises have put mankind is an unprecedented situation. Though it is very unfortunate to have lost so many lives to this virus, the microbial entity has done one good to us. It has made us realize that the human being is not the most powerful specie on this plant and that we are merely a part of this ecosystem.

The Menace of Plastic Waste and the Deadly Microplastics

Human activities and negligence towards nature have done immense harm to the mother earth. We have polluted our land, air, and water to an extent that its consequences are bare open in front of our eyes. We have littered in places where cleaning and collecting waste has become a mammoth task.

What happens to this plastic waste? Most of the time the plastic waste just stays at the same place for years and years or end up in landfills. Being a trekker and a nature lover, this aches me to my soul. Seeing plastic waste in the most distant and difficult places to reach, hurts me a lot. When I see plastic bottles floating on the rivers, polythene bags lying on the trek trails, used toothbrushes, and food wrappers in the mountains, it agitates me. It agitates me because it stains the beautiful picture I come to see when I want to immerse myself in the beauty of mountains and valleys.

But all of these are my thoughts and why should others bother about it. After all, not everyone feels the same. But the fact is, it matters to all of us and it eventually affects all of us. Cigarette Buds, Plastic Bottles, Plastic Bottle Caps, Plastic Bags, Food Wrappers, and Plastic Straws are some of the most littered objects. Microplastics from this waste are extremely dangerous for our health. Even from the distant places in nature such as mountains, they travel to our food at our home in the cities.

Why it matters to every one of us?

Let me explain to you ‘How’. Suppose one throws a used toothbrush on a trek. The toothbrush slowly weathers out and releases microplastics into the soil. The rain, snow, and landslide take those microplastics to the river and then to our oceans. Our rivers are a major source of drinking water for millions of people. The microplastics present in the water pose a huge threat to the health of these millions of people. This not only pollutes our river and ocean but also hampers aquatic life and the oceanic ecosystem. Because of plastic waste in the ocean and rivers, the fishes that we eat get stuffed with microplastics, which eventually land in our own body. With the rise in plastic pollution like never before there are high chances that you are eating plastic through various unimaginable ways. Not just this, the plastic waste littered in the mountains makes the soil loose, making it more prone to landslide. This poses an imminent threat to the lives of locals.

Reduced human activities during the lockdown have shown us that nature has immense power to heal itself. The water of one of the most polluted rivers, Ganga has turned drinkable, Dhauladhar Mountain Ranges are visible from Jalandhar city, and air quality in Delhi has improved drastically. All of these facts tell us that the time is not lost to undo the damage we have already done. Though all of our past actions might not be irrevocable, if we just become mindful of our waste we can do a lot to make the situation better.

Make your actions count

Avoiding single-use plastic, using eco-friendly products, disposing your waste at correct places, and adopting a sustainable lifestyle can do wonders. Make small and simple changes. One step at a time. These small incremental changes are important because plastic waste affects all of us. It matters to each one of us.

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity to reminisce on our actions and look at our lifestyle and the choices we made in the past. It is time to change.

I am sure you will be happier to see less polluted trek trails, mountains, rivers, oceans, and cities; and most importantly to eat plastic-free food.

Let us coexist with Nature!