Our regular columnist, secondary school student Daisy Dewsnap, explains how easy it is to help play a part in saving the environment.
Air pollution is currently one of the UK’s biggest issues. According to statistics, air pollution causes up to 36,000 early deaths each year within our country.
In the year 2017, the annual air pollution limits were breached just five days into the year. Five days.
Another huge issue is plastic pollution; approximately 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach in the UK.
Recent studies revealed traces of marine plastic pollution in 100 per cent of marine turtles, 59 per cent of whales, 36 per cent of seals and 40 per cent of seabird species.
Many goals have been outlined within the UK which will help us to tackle one of the greatest environmental challenges that we are facing in modern times.
In June last year, I read an article about what the government was hoping to do in order to deal with this issue and a couple of the goals mentioned included: eliminating plastic packaging and moving from single-use to reusable packing models (which we’ve already begun to see examples of with food chains like McDonald’s), and also ensuring that 100 per cent of plastic packaging can be easily and safely reused, recycled or composted by 2025.
So, while the government are bringing these plans into action, there are still many things that we can do as a society to speed up the process. Very simple things that we can do from home.
In this article I will be outlining four ways in which you can begin working towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
If, as individuals, we adopt new habits and make the move towards this lifestyle then in the long run this will benefit all of us greatly!
• The first way you can begin practicing this lifestyle, which is probably the easiest way, is by recycling. This is something that every single one of us can do and it is such a direct, easy way to get involved in the movement of saving our planet.
Recycling and reusing our current resources reduces the demand for processing new raw materials which contribute to both air and water pollution.
This means that there will also be a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions due to more energy being saved. Therefore by doing something as straightforward as recycling your rubbish, your action will have a domino effect on many different factors, resulting in a huge step towards tackling climate change.
• The second thing that you could begin doing is making use of Mason jars more often. I recently started using these and have found that they can be used for almost anything.
Not only do they act as a storage container, they can also be used for transporting your food or storing a drink when you’re out and about, as well as for packaging food gifts.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to put your paint brushes or somewhere to make your overnight oatmeal cereal, Mason jars are the perfect alternative to plastic bags or packaging.
• The third way that you can live a more sustainable lifestyle is through thrifting and charity shopping after lockdown!
I spoke about the benefits of shopping at charity shops a few weeks ago in another article as well.
It’s such a great way to find vintage and unique treasures without contributing to fast fashion and the demand for cheap consumer goods.
It also reduces the demand for new clothing to be produced so, as with the recycling, it reduces energy from a decrease in the manufacturing which will then have a domino effect on many other aspects of both the fashion industry and pollution! Plus it’s a win-win because as well as the environment benefitting, you come away with wonderful finds that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
• The fourth and final way that I will be talking about is purchasing reusable goods!
You can enjoy the benefits of a reusable water bottle, or a reusable shopping bag while helping the environment! Not only are reusable bags better quality to hold your shopping, but they’re also contributing to the movement of reducing plastic waste. In terms of a reusable water bottle, it takes less oil to produce and there is less of a demand for single-use plastic bottles as you can repetitively use it for as long as you like.
This means that your carbon footprint will also be reduced.
These are only a few things that you can do, though - there are countless more besides!
All of these small steps will help to push us in the right direction.