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Planet Earth: Our Loving Home

The Growing Problem of Plastic Pollution, Part 2 of 2

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However, the problem of plastic waste extends far beyond cities; it occurs even in the most remote places on Earth. Currently, the world produces twice as much of this waste annually than it did two decades ago. In addition, since its outbreak in late 2019, the global COVID-19 pandemic has caused even more waste to be produced. In a February 2022 report, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned that the ever-growing amount of plastic waste is devastating ocean life.

One of the most commonly suggested solutions is recycling. However, even when it’s recycled, plastic is still plastic. But plastic does not disappear through re-cycling; it simply “down cycles,” to eventually end up as garbage. Another possible solution is banning certain plastic products, especially single-use items such as grocery bags and food packaging.

In March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) met in Nairobi, Kenya to forge an agreement for an international treaty on plastic pollution. The meeting was a landmark success, with 175 member states in favor. Although such an international treaty could limit future waste, the problem of existing plastic waste is yet to be solved. How can this issue be addressed? Researchers at the University of Texas in Austin have made a promising discovery that could help.

Our Most Gracious Supreme Master Ching Hai often reminds us about the critical importance of protecting the environment and encourages us to use only eco-friendly products. “In America, they are already trying to limit the use of harmful packages. So, I think that’s a very good start, and maybe we should impose a little stricter ban on these harmful substances.” “They have to understand the harmful effect of the use of these packages. And then we have to change. Even if the government doesn’t impose any ban, we as individuals should pay attention. We should use something less toxic, and we should use our own shopping bags wherever we go to minimize whatever we can, the effect, the harmful effect to the planet.”
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