• Friday, Dec 13, 2019
  • Last Update : 11:39 am

Man marches 64 districts, raises awareness on plastic pollution

  • Published at 02:24 am November 2nd, 2019
babar-ali-1
Babar Ali travels 64 districts of the country on foot Collected

In a report done by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in July this year it was stated that according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) every minute 33,800 plastic bottles and bags are entering the sea worldwide; which amounts to 8 million tons per year

Every year, it is estimated that 20,000 metric tons of plastic waste is littered in the Bay of Bengal after making its way through the 54 rivers of the country, according to a report published recently.

The report was published after a collaborative study of Bangladesh Fish Research Institute and Bangladesh Agricultural University.

In a BBC report in July, it was stated that according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), every minute 33,800 plastic bottles and bags are entering the sea worldwide; which amounts to 8 million tons per year.

By 2050, it is estimated that 130,000 tons of plastic waste will reach the oceans every year. According to the World Watch Institute: "260 million tons of plastic was used throughout the world in 2008. A person uses about 60kg of plastic annually and for developed countries like North America, West Europe, and Japan it is more than 100kg."

Increase in use of plastic leads to increase in pollution. A hiker, Babar Ali, took the initiative to reduce plastic pollution and enlighten the public regarding this issue.

Babar Ali is a doctor by profession. He worked as a medical officer at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental organization of UN concerning refugees, after completing his MBBS from Chittagong Medical College.

However, his love for travelling compelled him to quit a few months ago. The bends of the hills allured him more than his office chair.

This time, he aims to travel all 64 districts of the country on foot. His goal is to visit schools and local markets along the way to raise awareness about the effects of single-use plastic.

Babar begun his journey from Thakurgaon on October 25. Starting out around 6 or 7am in the morning, he walks till sundown. He takes tea breaks every one and half hours to two hours and luncheons from any local market.

He spent nights in his relatives or friends' houses where he tried to make them aware about the issue as well.

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Babar said it might take him 70 to 80 days to cover all the districts if his health and the weather permits. 

He said: "I plan to visit schools, colleges and local markets to try and convince the people to reduce plastic waste."

This hiker has already travelled through seven districts with enthusiastic locals accompanying him from time to time.

Babar said: "People have accepted my advice about plastic use with an open heart. A tea vendor in Taraganj Bazar of Rangpur even promised not to use one-time plastic cups in his shop anymore."

This environment-friendly individual holds the view that, although it is not possible to change people's minds or stop plastic use in a single day, it is possible to raise awareness gradually.

Citing a research done by British charity organization, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, he said: "If the situation continues, there will be more plastic in the oceans than the total volume of fish. So it is imperative to raise awareness about the issue."