Updated: May 23, 2021
We are currently going through one of the most tragic times in history but we, clearly, are missing out on the lessons that we ought to learn from this disaster. We seem to have forgotten, rather quickly, the transition and the miraculous healing our beautiful planet was undergoing.
When the shock of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic forced an emergency brake on nearly all commercial activities, what we witnessed around us was nothing short of magic like in an animated fairytale musical. We slowed down and the nature showed all signs of recovery. The bird songs were loud and clear, the skies went from grey to the brightest shade of blue, dolphins were spotted playing near shores, herds of deer and elephants were observed visiting their neighbouring cities and towns. There indeed was a visible increase in the overall health of the planet due to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduction in contamination of water bodies, a monumental fall in noise levels etc. The appalling effects of human interference were apparent to all, even to the naysayers of climate change! And yet, we choose to ignore this reality as evidence, and unapologetically carry on with our old polluting ways!
How? Well, just as the environment began repairing and healing itself, our mismanagement has led to numerous landfills and waterbodies being dumped with tons of used Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which has considerably increased the level of plastic pollution.
A 2020 World Health Organization (WHO) report states that the monthly consumption of facial masks and medical gloves is around 129 billion and 65 billion, respectively, for a world population os 7.8 billion. Although, commendably, there soon was a dramatic shift to reusable and washable face masks, as well as a reduction in the use of gloves, the careless disposal of it all is still a weighty menace to the environment. Today, after a year of lockdown and semi lockdown, and continuing forward under the grip of the pandemic, we, still, are in the dark about the future. Therefore, the horrors of the reckless disposal are clearly going to haunt us for longer than we can anticipate.
Here are some questions keeping me up:
If humankind has to survive, what is the cost that our Mother, this beautiful planet, has to pay?
The pandemic should open our eyes and ears, instead, is it making us more and more ignorant and heedless?
Aren't we, essentially, regressing under the garb of progress?
But for now, let us applaud innovations and efforts that have stepped forward to the planet's rescue and fall in line to help and serve her:
Green Earth Equipment (tackling waste management/disposal): http://greenearthequipment.in/ Gulmeher (Delhi-based NGO): https://gulmeher.com/product-category/cloth-face-mask/ Paper Seed (masks on disposal grow into plants): https://paperseed-co.web.app/
Clearly, we have options. I have listed only a few here. There are many more such efforts. Let us SWITCH to make a difference to our planet, our lives!