Plastics are everywhere in our lives. Is there a way out?
My morning (morning means real morning, not seven o’clock) starts with drinking a bottle of water from a great-looking Tupperware plastic bottle. With its purple colour, it gives me a great deal of satisfaction as I finish drinking 1.5 litres of water in 30 seconds. I feel great after that.
However, I’m not worried about the container that I’m drinking from. I never think of the plastic that the bottle is manufactured from.
I have a tray that looks like a flower to harbour some seasonal fruits such as bananas, guavas, and pomegranates. Sometimes I eat one or two from the tray. The tray is also made of plastic.
I then sit at the dining table with my laptop to browse the required and necessary news sites. My mind never stops for a moment to think that my laptop is also made of plastic.
As my breakfast time approaches, I go for a shower. And before that, I shave. In the shaving kit, I find the stem of my shaving brush is made of plastic; my shaving-cream tube with its knob is also manufactured from plastic. The nozzle of the shower is made of plastic. Other necessary utensils such as the soap case and the shampoo bottle -- all plastic.
After the shower, I comb my hair. With a piece of plastic.
Now, I am ready for breakfast.
I usually have sugar-free yoghurt which I mix with some pieces of ripe papaya. The yoghurt comes from a dairy farm located in Narayanganj. They send the yoghurt packed in a round plastic container, which is sealed with a thick layer of scotch-tape.
I do take some medicines and vitamin supplements after my morning meal. The strips of those tablets and capsules are also made of plastic.
I’m not sure how much of the car that I drive to my workplace is plastic. When I’m seated behind the wheels, I discover that almost 70% of the car is made of plastic.
Approaching the driveway of my office, I try to feel my ID card with one of my hands and there you go! The card and the lanyard are manufactured from plastic. And that reminds me that I have a debit card, a credit card, a Gulshan-Society card, access cards from my clubs, one card from an apparel seller, and two other cards from two other grocery outlets in my wallet. Plastic. I seem to be a plastic bomb. Some parts of my wallet also have plastic.
Seated in my cubicle, I have some mini-containers of plastic full of biscuits and nuts on my desk for me to have in tiffin-time.
You see! Life is good with plastic materials!
In the evening, for about two hours, I enter a gym to do some light exercise. The gym attendant brings water in a bottle made of thin plastic. Sometimes, I also order orange juice during my gym time. The juice also comes in a plastic bottle.
I will not drag the story too long. Let me conclude by saying that the remote controls of the television set at my home are also made of plastic, not to talk about the TV set itself.
I’m sure, dear readers, you are also thinking about your own lives and focusing on how much plastic you use in your daily chores.
If you look at the day I spent, from morning till evening, it was in an abyss of plastic. As we go along, we usually don’t notice how much plastic we use in our daily life, but the presence of plastic has reached an extremely dangerous proportion.
Bangladeshi researchers have found the presence of microplastics in our food -- in our meat and vegetables. They have also found plastics in important species of marine fishes such as pink Bombay-duck (loitta), white Bombay-duck, goldstripe sardinella, brown shrimp, and tiger shrimp.
We created plastics to make our life easier, but in doing so, quite thoughtlessly, we have not noticed how these have emerged as environmental pollutants having tremendous impact on human and animal health. Plastics are omnipresent in both soil and water across the country, posing a deleterious threat to our eco-system and biodiversity.
I saw a news report some years ago that claimed the presence of a thick layer of plastic at the bottom of Buriganga river, which cannot be dredged out any more; we don’t have any technology to excavate that layer and clear the river.
Just imagine what could be the situation in all other rivers and thousands of canals and ponds!
When I look at my own lifestyle and think about living in a more sustainable way, I find that I have already done the damage to myself from which there is no turning back. I am completely wrapped up in various kinds of plastic materials. My food and water are contaminated with plastics.
When I try to think about the way forward, I can’t think any more. I don’t find light at the end of the tunnel. Only darkness with a pathetic future.
The use of plastic in my own daily life reminds me of an unawareness, reminds me about how insensitive I am to my own children, their progeny, and the environment they will be living in. I myself am out to destroy the sacred environment around me, leaving no chance for a healthy living for my descendants.
I don’t see any collective hope to break out of this killing trap of plastics. Do you?
Ekram Kabir is a yogi, a story-teller, and a communications professional. His other works can be found on ekramkabir.com.