Plastics and Our Environment

We love plastics…but we are beginning to get worried about the amount of plastics that litter our environment.

Plastic forms the composition of many items we use these days from shopping bags to sachet water packages, disposable food containers and a lot more. These items however have been disposed carelessly in the last couple of years leading to a dirty and messed up environment.

Plastic bags and water bottles constitute the bulk of waste materials that clog our drainage systems leading to flooding and erosion. The most troubling issue here is that plastics take longer periods to degrade and burning of these materials lead to release of toxic materials such as dioxins which are harmful to human health.

What then should we do?

• Use of alternative materials to plastic should be encouraged. Few years ago, the state of California in USA took the initiative and banned the use of plastic shopping bags in favour of paper bags.

• If disposal of plastics is absolutely necessary, it should be done properly and in accordance to local environmental laws.

• Much better alternatives involve the 3R(RRR) approach of waste management.

REDUCE requires us to seek alternatives to plastics. Rather than use disposable cups in your workplace, you can carry a mug along with you for your water and tea.

REUSE says that your disposables don’t always have to be disposable after single use. Plastic shopping bags can be stored and used again.

RECYCLE ♻ encourages us to put plastic materials to alternative forms or into alternative uses rather than disposing them.

• Sanitation exercises should be done regularly to rid our streets, drainages and water bodies of these plastic wastes. Let’s work together to keep our environment free from plastic wastes!

This article was written by Egwuatu Onyedika, the Lead Communications Officer of the Global Coordination Unit(GCU) of the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network(CSAYN). Feel free to share and spread the word! Visit to find out what the rest of the world is doing to foster a sustainable environment.

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