Planet vs Plastics

Dear Editor,
This year’s Earth Day theme is “Planet vs Plastics”. In honour of our planet and in support of the global push to preserve its sustainable future, we should all look at ways to reduce the use of plastics. Whether by using only biodegradable and recyclable materials for the school feeding programme or by establishing recycling facilities in each region where plastics are collected and processed for use in other areas, we must embrace the global initiative to reduce the use of plastics.
In today’s environment, plastics have been found in the ocean and seafood. This has caused cardiovascular problems and the pollution continues to increase. Guyana’s current stage of development allows for the country to leapfrog these problems and focus on the newly-developed alternatives being used to combat the problem of plastic. Glass has been a better alternative to plastic when it comes to the direct impact on the environment, but transportation costs have made plastics more attractive to large companies. This has introduced new products such as boxed water products which allow for a biodegradable solution. The world is beginning to once again embrace paper products as packaging alternatives to help combat the extensive use of plastics. New technology has enabled producers to make products that are more sturdy and durable.
The Government can play a major role in reducing plastic use through import restrictions and the development of local biodegradable products. Bottled water is a fertile area for such an initiative. The packaging used by the fast food industry can also be positively impacted by such regulations.
Our ecotourism credentials will be boosted as we implement legislation that supports the global push for the reduction of plastics. Let’s do our part in achieving a 60 per cent reduction by 2040. If we truly believe in our role as environmental stewards, we should help lead this initiative by providing a stellar example of how to live and thrive with minimal use of plastics.

Best regards,
Jamil Changlee