When you go to a shop to buy something, you will likely be given the product in a plastic bag.
Renowned environmentalist Tofiq Pasha suggests we need a lifestyle change to cut back on our consumption of plastic to play our part in preventing damage to the environment. You can take a container from home to your shopping trip instead of using a plastic bag.
“When you go for grocery shopping, you can keep a straw bag with you,” Pasha said on SAMAA TV’s morning show Naya Din on Friday. He added that some items can even be carried by hand.
Instead of purchasing plastic bottles, you can use glass bottles or aluminum flasks. Containers can be re-used for food and when you go to buy biryani or yogurt from shops.
He agreed that making the switch is difficult and awareness needed to be created. “Plastic has made our lives convenient so we have stopped inventing alternatives,” he remarked.
However, there is an alternative for everything, he added. “Inventions never stop,” he said.
Referring to the ban of plastic bags in Islamabad and Hunza, Pasha said placing bans is not enough. Implementation is even more important.
“Recycling is not needed,” he remarked, adding that we don’t need to use products which need recycling.
Packaged goods, such as shampoo and face wash, are harming us and the environment. “What’s inside is as harmful as what is outside,” he said. Meaning, our shampoo is full of ingredients that are as dangerous as the bottle itself.
Pasha suggested categorising your waste into glass, plastic and paper.
Plastic is also a source of many diseases. General physician Dr Ruksana said plastic particles release toxins which are absorbed by our body.
It can cause asthma, birth defects, cardiac problems and infertility, she said.
“It accumulates in your body and goes in your blood stream and affects all body parts,” Rukhsana added.
She discouraged the use of plastic wraps to preserve food and heating food in plastic containers.
Environmentalist Amir Alamgir weighed in on the issue and said plastic products can also cause cancer. Persistent organic pollutants, such as dioxins can have toxic effects on our health and cause cancer.
He said our environment is polluted with micro and nano level plastic, which goes in our lungs. Clifton beach is covered with 1kg plastic, in the form of beach debris, he added.