Simple ideas to empower local communities to solve global plastic waste

There are numerous strategies to reduce plastic waste, including creating less, using less, and better managing current garbage to avoid contamination or leakage.

By Raj Kumar

If nothing is done soon to curb the use of plastics, we should remember that by 2050 there will be even more plastic in the oceans than fish. The detrimental effects of plastic on human health and the environment are well documented: Air pollution from burnt rubber is causing an increase in respiratory problems. Consumption of plastic shortens the lives of animals. Littered plastic clogs drains and causes flooding, while uncontrolled plastic pollutes our precious coastlines and streams. Indeed, there are numerous strategies to reduce plastic waste, including creating less, using less, and better managing current garbage to avoid contamination or leakage.

Fortunately, everyone – from individuals and nations to corporations and manufacturers – has the potential to take action on plastic waste. Policy changes, more knowledge, and improved design and removal methods, among other things, are crucial to changing behavior and properly managing plastic trash. Our greatest problem is to develop a long-term economic structure that generates value while preventing environmental pollution.

Recyclability – A necessary step
Many experts think that we need to strive toward recyclability, which is an economic strategy in which relevant resources are reused to the maximum extent possible. Other tactics involve large-scale operations like production and sustainability legislation, as well as enormous clean-up efforts by big environmental organizations.

Despite the reality of climate change is a worldwide problem, local, community-based efforts can have a significant impact. Members of vulnerable members of society are encouraged to partake in and even direct clean-up efforts inside a community-based approach. Community-based services involve the use of residents’ skills and resources while also providing training and education to ensure that clean-up initiatives are sustained.

It’s natural to be skeptical about this approach; and besides, how can modest, local initiatives make a difference in such a vast problem? Here are some of the advantages of community-based solutions, as well as how they affect the world.

Advantages of a community-based approach
Poorer communities are frequently the ones most affected by climate change. This is subject to a series of considerations: as cities grow, waste accumulates without appropriate waste management systems; developed nations frequently offload their waste to landfills that are unable to properly manage it; a poor education leads to inefficient waste practices such as burning or burying trash, and the communities’ proximity to rivers and shores results in the accumulation of ocean-bound litter.

This vulnerability, on the other hand, comes with a built-in incentive. Residents in these areas notice the benefits of clean-up activities right away. When a project includes extra benefits like training, a safe working environment, and monetary incentives, communities are more inclined to partake actively in sustainability initiatives.

Factors necessary for success
Certain factors must be considered for community-based efforts to be successful. Because there is no common solution, community-based programs can be challenging to implement. Community-based environmental projects must keep the culture and traditions of the local community in mind and develop a project around it while providing incentives for local community members to participate. They should make a meaningful environmental impact that benefits both local and global communities. They should follow sustainability regulations and recommendations by leading environmental groups.

There are numerous strategies to reduce plastic waste, including creating less, using less, and better managing current garbage to avoid contamination or leakage.The localities where community-based sustainable initiatives take place are by far the most polluted. The Mekong River, for example, is one of the world’s most polluted rivers. Every year, it transports around 40,000 tonnes of plastic to the ocean. As a result, community-based clean-up efforts along the Mekong River can contribute to a reduction in the amount of plastic debris entering the ocean. By empowering and educating communities in this area, we can make a difference. We clean the environmental issues while enhancing the quality of life for those inside these areas by strengthening the community throughout this area and informing them about the risks of plastic pollution.

(The author is CEO, Deshwal Waste Management. Views are personal and not necessarily that of

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