Mission: Clean Up Australia

The world today is in a deplorable plight due to increased pollution. Time and again, scientists have spoken rhetorically on the alarming issue. It is essential to bring up in this context, what David Attenborough had mentioned before the UN assembly. He brought into limelight the need to focus our attention towards the changing global environmental scenario and look out for means to ensure a better future for the upcoming generations.

The increasing pollution throughout the globe is due to many reasons like spilling of oil and tar from ships in the oceans, emission of harmful gases like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide due to increasing industries, and devices like refrigerators and cars. A prominent cause among them is the use of plastics which has essentially reduced the chances of survival for all of us. Dumping plastic bags and bottles in water bodies tends to become hazardous for the aquatic creatures that choke on them and die. Contamination of water is a large cause for the death of thousands of people who use that polluted water for survival purposes.

Plastics do not necessarily need to be littered to cause pollution.  The very production of plastics on a magnanimous scale releases harmful chemical compounds which are detrimental to the environment. Scientists have also noted how there have been traces of plastics in the deepest of seas. On an average, millions of plastic waste is dumped into oceans and lakes excluding the landfill grounds. The pollution generated is not restricted to any particular zone, however, the South Asian countries seem to have a higher production of the same. China alone emits around 30% of carbon dioxide which is responsible for the ozone layer depletion.

A very important decision has thus been taken by Australia in the aforementioned case, in order to reduce the use of plastics. A campaign, ‘Clean Up Australia’ has been inaugurated which undertakes, ‘Ban the Bag’ project that has been launched in order to reduce the use of plastic bags as much as possible. Recycling of plastic bags has been a better alternative since then. The government has ensured the maximum reduction on the use of light weight plastic bags which are used as shopping essentials. Though there has been considerable resistance from retailers to eliminate plastic bags at check points, places like Western Australia and Queensland have been dedicated towards the cause since July 2018.

Grocers all across Australia have sought to limit the use of degradable plastic bags and biodegradable bags as well due to their slow decomposition process thereby contributing to a plastic free environment. Widespread supermarket chains like Coles and Woolworths have tried to extend the ban beyond the supermarket realm by using reusable bags. The NRA reports that Australia has been successful in banning almost 80% of plastic bags since the emergence of the campaign.

Voluntary attempts to stop the use of bags at checkouts are a sign of how aware the people are of the danger and willing to contribute in every possible way to the noble cause. Clean up Australia, along with prominent retailers of the country, has been working to move towards a plastic-bag free nation by introducing alternatives like paper bags and boxes in their wholesale market areas, the first of them being Harris Farm Markets.

Countries should follow this wonderful example set by Australia and start preserving their environment before it is too late!