My relationship with plastic!

By Sushila Shrestha
Feb 04, 2022

Scrolling through YouTube a cold January morning, a video recommendation caught my eye. The thumbnail had a picture of a turtle bleeding through its nose. Curiously, I watched the whole 8-minute video. What I saw broke my heart and began my journey with plastics.

The whole video was about the turtle who had a 10-12 cm ‘PLASTIC STRAW’ lodged into its nostril. A researcher, who had accidentally found the turtle, was trying to remove the straw. A process looked excruciatingly painful and was difficult to watch. It had me thinking, “Is there anything I can do so that another sea life would not have to suffer this fate?”

The following days, I tried being conscious of my plastic consumption. I maintained a diary where I underlined every product or activity that comprised of plastic.

“The alarm clock woke me up in the morning. Doing my daily chores, I took my spectacles from the side-table, and warmed some water in the electric jug. I went to the bathroom with my slippers on and kept pea-sized toothpaste on my pink toothbrush. I checked my emails on my laptop and to start my work.

“Hungry after a while, I put a teabag on the warm water, and enjoyed some cookies out of the packet. I went grocery shopping and came back with a grocery bag. I kept the groceries in jars and washed the vegetables in a bucket. My brother helped me to cut the vegetables with a knife on the cutting board. After lunch, I washed the dishes with a dishwashing brush and sponge.

“I got a call from a friend to meet up. We went at Kathmandu Fun Park and wanted to ride the roller coaster. For this, I withdrew some money from my ATM card. The day was good as we even got to eat some fast food from the nearby fast-food service. I returned home on a bike from ‘Pathao’.“It was pretty late when I came back home. I was tired and wanted to sleep. So, I quickly took my diary and started writing my routine with a pen.”

I was quite shocked when I underlined every product or activity that involved plastic. I was using plastic in my early morning routine and throughout my daily activities. This routine didn’t even include plastics used for various medical purposes. Plastic has become ubiquitous in today’s world and I have to accept it in my life. Avoiding plastics today would be like living in the stone age. But how can I, and people like me, be responsible for our plastic consumption without compromising our lifestyle? I realized that the answer is simple. It lies in the magic of 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Anything we don’t need; we can reduce and refuse it. Any plastic product that we cannot refuse, we can reuse it based on its lifecycle. And anything that we cannot reduce or reuse can be given to recycling facilities like Recycler Sathi, where it can get a new life in a new shape and form. Ergo, my relationship with plastic went from love to hate and from hate to understanding. I cannot completely discard plastic consumption but there is one thing that I can surely do: USE IT RESPONSIBLY!

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