As a result, the usage of plastic has turned into a nationwide phenomenon that causes health problems. Unconsciously, humans embrace their own demise with wide arms or consciously, they embrace it from the bottom of their hearts. People have yet to realize that non-degradable plastic usage relates to improper plastic disposal and garbage mountains, which contribute to environmental, health, social, and economic issues. Plastic pollution has created a hazard that is not climate-friendly for the planet, plants, and animals. As a result of improper plastic disposal, plastic pollution has significantly affected on everything from the atmosphere, ocean, sea and aquatic ecosystem to the terrestrial ecosystem. Among them, the destruction of ecosystems, epidemic conditions brought on by blocked drainage systems, flash floods, the release of various heavy metals and chemical liquids into the environment, and the chemicals themselves, which can interfere with the excretory system of humans are some negative effects. Furthermore, it has been proven that the same chemicals cause cancer.
The fact that many plastics, including those used only for bottles, bottle caps, containers, plastic bags, food wrappers, rice wrappers are non-degradable is a well-known secret. It is possible to avoid them from collecting in the environment. All we need to do is utilize biodegradable plastic or recycle old plastic. The environment should be protected from the gathering of plastic by adopting the relevant laws and regulations. The issue of waste disposal, which has recently become a popular topic in Sri Lanka, leads to public protests, court actions, political conflicts, and as well as social, environmental, and health issues caused more severely than any other. But it’s doubtful if laws can control the behavior of humans. This can be accomplished successfully by launching a community-wide awareness campaign to educate people about the use of plastic.
Thus, Zero Plastic Colombo Community developed a proactive strategy for dealing with the disposal of plastic trash at a time when Sri Lanka’s use of plastic has increased drastically.
On September 11, 2022, an awareness session was held at the Medagama Sri Sunandaramaya Dhamma School as a significant milestone by the Zero Plastic Colombo Community. This event was a part of Zero Plastic Colombo Community’s second project, “Anusara,” which aimed to inform communities about reducing the usage of plastic and its negative environmental effects.
There, various activities were undertaken under the participation and supervision of eight Zero plastic volunteers to broaden the creative and conceptual horizons of nearly 80 dhamma schoolchildren.
Discussing what is Zero Plastic and the physical effects of plastic on the environment, drawing and painting to depict the harm caused by plastic use, discussing alternatives to plastic use and presenting the related video content, and discussing the actions they might take if they become the president of Sri Lanka one day, were the five distinct activities carried out there, focusing the children’ attention on reducing plastic usage. At the end, the three best speeches and the top five paintings were rewarded with prizes in order to encourage the children to use less plastic.
Solutions for reducing the use of plastic should be put into effect, given how improperly plastic waste is disposed of in recent Sri Lanka. It is possible to limit the amount of plastic trash that is dumped into the environment by adhering to the 3R idea of reducing plastic consumption, reusing, and recycling. The goal of this is to control and minimize the consumption of single-use plastics.
The use of plastic has vastly expanded in Sri Lanka as a result of the country’s rising population. Plastic’s chemical composition is extremely harmful to humans. It creates a serious hazard to both humans and the environment in which they live. Therefore, you should think carefully before utilizing plastic. Each of us has a responsibility to reduce or eliminate our use of plastic. It is now time to consider how beneficial a plastic restriction would be to nature, animals and the majority of society.
University of Colombo – Faculty of Science
J.A. Isuri Wasana
University of Colombo – Faculty of Law