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Environment Conservation: Your New Year’s Resolution for 2024

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New Years Resolution Environment Conservation
 
The earth, our only home is under severe threat and we, humans are largely responsible for this. Loss of biodiversity, climate change and pollution of air, water, soil etc. are pushing our planet to the path of destruction.
As the world grapples with pressing environmental challenges, global leaders are convening at various platforms, most recently at COP 28, to address climate change with a focus on urgent environmental conservation. Climate change is not only affecting the environment but has also severe negative impacts on humans and other living beings.
Plastic pollution negatively impacts habitats and natural processes. It also reduces the ecosystems’ ability to adapt to climate change, thus affecting livelihoods, food production and social well-being. Approximately 7 billion of the 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic produced from 1950-2017 became plastic waste, ending up in landfills or dumped, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
While we humans define ‘progress’ through technological advancements and rapid industrialisation, it is high time we should understand that nothing will exist if the planet does not.
It is time we wake up and start acting to save our environment, as our existence is dependent upon its habitability. We must act immediately to protect and conserve our only home for the existing residents as well as the future generations. To this end, let us take up the following resolutions for 2024, and become proactive in the conservation of our environment.

Learning about and Executing Waste Management Practices

It is necessary to raise awareness about the importance of waste segregation at source – even at home – and recycling different kinds of waste. Educating citizens on segregating waste at source into different types of waste is a necessary step towards waste management. Initiatives are also being undertaken to train waste workers and ragpickers regarding the same.
Proper segregation drastically reduces the amount of waste going to landfills, with the dry waste getting repurposed as competitive raw material to several industries like glass, paper and plastic.
Not only at home, but waste segregation should also be practised everywhere, be it offices, educational institutions, hospitals and commercial establishments.
While people have become conscious towards their responsibility to preserve the environment as compared to even 20 years ago, more awareness initiatives will only spread the message faster and to more people, especially the young generation.

CSR initiatives for waste management in India

Some of the notable CSR initiatives aimed at waste management include Dabur India’s Plastic Waste Collection drive – My 10 Kg Plastic. Under this initiative, Dabur, along with Indian Pollution Control Association (IPCA), have been running a series of programmes involving Government agencies, community members, residential societies, schools and offices to build awareness about segregation and safe disposal of plastic waste.
Hyundai Motor India Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Hyundai Motor India Ltd., is running a waste management plant in Gurugram in collaboration with Municipal Corporation of Gurugram, Haryana State CSR Trust and NGO Saahas.
Unsustainable waste management practices in India’s hill stations have posed threats to the fragile mountain ecosystems and the overall environmental sustainability of these regions. To address these issues, Nestlé India has extended its support to Project Hilldaari, which aims to develop inclusive, resilient, and sustainable waste management models in popular tourist cities. The project, implemented by Stree Mukti Sanghatana and technically supported by Recity Network Private Limited, is currently implemented in Mussoorie, Dalhousie, Mahabaleshwar, Ponda and Munnar. It has made remarkable progress in transforming waste management through various initiatives.
Mineral water manufacturing company Bisleri, in their attempt to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the landfill has started an awareness campaign titled ‘Bottles for Change’. The initiative aims to create awareness among people to treat used plastic as a valuable resource by segregating and responsibly disposing of, thus preventing it from entering landfills.

Water conservation

Water conservation is a major step without which environmental conservation is not possible. Small changes in our day to day life can help in conserving water because every drop saved counts. These include rainwater harvesting, turning off the washbasin or kitchen sink tap when not in use, keeping the tap off while shaving, brushing our teeth or applying dishwashing soap on utensils, taking shorter showers and avoiding wasting excess water after bath, reusing water such as water used to wash rice, pulses, fruits or vegetables can be used for gardening, installing flow restrictors on shower heads and washbasin taps, keeping taps off when there is no water supply so that water is not wasted once supply resumes, repairing water pipe leakages on time etc.
On a bigger scale, water conservation initiatives by the government and even by companies through Corporate Social Responsibility are being undertaken in areas affected by drought, water scarcity, lack of access to clean drinking water etc. With depleting water level, efforts are on to conserve it by construction of tanks, borewell recharge, check dams, installing new tanks along with raising awareness among the local communities in different states of India.
CSR initiatives aimed at creating awareness and educating communities on better ways to sustainably use water for agriculture and rainwater harvesting are being undertaken in collaboration with NGOs in different parts of India. At the same time, focus is being given to ensuring clean drinking water for daily household consumption of rural communities, which is still a challenge in many parts of India.
Initiatives are being taken to improve water storage capacity and its supply in the local community through building and renovating village ponds to harvest rainwater and recharge groundwater in rural areas. For example, packaged foods company MTR Foods has created a water conservation capacity of 40 million liters in Karnataka, in collaboration with NGO Myrada, operating in underdeveloped and drought-prone regions.
Coca-Cola India’s Jaldhara project being executed in the districts of Kolar, Karnataka and Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh through Anandana –Coca-Cola India Foundation and implementation partner – SM Sehgal Foundation. The National Award-winning project is aimed at transforming lives by significantly improving groundwater levels, enhancing overall crop productivity, and improving the livelihood of farmers through effective water resource management.

Sustainable lifestyle

It is necessary to lead a sustainable lifestyle by indulging in thoughtful and logical choices in day to day life. And the first step towards this is following the 3 R-s of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Another major step for going green is going plastic free, which is the need of the hour.
Plastic pollution is increasingly becoming a huge challenge across the world. In fact it has become one of the most pressing environmental issues in the present day. Plastic waste is not only polluting the environment but also suffocating the planet. Some scientists say that it can take upto 200 years for plastic to degrade in a landfill. Inefficient garbage collection system, low recycling rate of plastic only adds to the woe even in developed nations.
The Government of India imposed a nationwide ban on identified single use plastic items from 1st July 2022 with an aim to curb pollution caused by littered and unmanaged plastic waste. The list of banned items includes ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice- cream sticks, polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers.
Plastic carry bags are an indispensable part of our day to day lives, especially in India despite attempts by the government to curb its use. Even though awareness is increasing, a lot of people continue to use plastic carry bags oblivious to its deadly impact on planet earth, which is our only home.
However, it is time we embrace the beautiful, sustainable and biodegradable alternatives to plastic like cotton bags, canvas bags, jute bags, recycled paper bags and other environment-friendly alternatives in our day to day life.
Reducing carbon footprint is also extremely necessary for going green. Carbon footprint caused by our day-to-day lifestyle, regular travel and food consumption habits etc. need to be kept under check. Greenhouse gas emissions constitute a significant portion of a business’s total carbon footprint. Recognising these emissions as a part of one’s own carbon footprint could lead to large-scale change.
Sustainable transport and opting for green energy are two very necessary steps in the direction of environmental conservation.

Embracing Circular Economy

The idea of a circular economy is like a fresh breeze in the world of sustainability, focusing on cutting waste and embracing eco-friendly habits. It’s all about changing how we use and make things, moving away from the old “use and throw” idea. Instead, let’s choose things that last longer, can be easily fixed, and are kind to the environment.
Think about it: when we buy stuff, we should look for products that can be recycled or easily taken apart for repairs. This simple act reduces waste. Also, having good recycling centers makes a big difference. Governments, businesses, and communities need to work together to set up more recycling spots, making it easy for everyone to join in.
Companies are also getting smarter about how they do business. Some are offering services instead of just selling products, making it easier to reuse and recycle. Innovations in materials also play a big role – from using things that break down naturally to finding new ways to recycle. As we all learn more about circular economies, we can make choices that help our planet. So, let’s embrace this smart way of thinking and create a better world for us and the generations to come!

Protecting the Oceans

Our oceans, essential for sustaining life on Earth, are currently facing significant challenges due to pollution, excessive fishing, and the impacts of climate change. These issues are disrupting the delicate balance of marine ecosystems, putting the well-being of countless sea creatures at risk.
The widespread use of plastic and harmful chemicals has resulted in ocean pollution, threatening the lives of marine species. Excessive fishing is depleting fish populations, upsetting the intricate web of marine life. Climate change compounds these problems with rising sea temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns, posing a direct threat to the resilience of our oceans.
In addressing these challenges, every individual can make a positive impact. Simple changes in our daily habits, such as reducing plastic usage and embracing recycling practices, contribute to a cleaner ocean environment. Making informed choices about the seafood we consume, and opting for sustainable options, ensures responsible fishing practices. Additionally, adopting a lifestyle that reduces our carbon footprint, such as using energy-efficient appliances and choosing eco-friendly transportation options, directly supports efforts to combat climate change and benefits our oceans.
By collectively embracing these practices, we not only contribute to the health of our oceans but also actively participate in preserving the delicate balance of our planet. The role individuals play in ocean conservation is integral, and it is through these combined efforts that we can ensure a sustainable and thriving future for our seas and all the life they support.

Choosing Low-Impact Recreation

In understanding the idea of low-impact recreation, we dive into a simple yet impactful concept – enjoying the outdoors responsibly. This section underscores the significance of engaging in outdoor activities with utmost care to ensure we leave little to no negative impact on the environment. It’s all about treading lightly, like a gentle footprint, to preserve the beauty of natural habitats for generations to come.
When we talk about low-impact recreation, we’re essentially focusing on how we play, explore, and unwind in nature without causing harm. It’s a call to be mindful of our surroundings, to respect the flora and fauna that make our outdoor spaces special. Whether it’s hiking, camping, or simply strolling through a park, the key is to cherish these moments without leaving behind a trail of damage.
Responsible approaches to outdoor recreation mean leaving no trace of our presence. This involves cleaning up after ourselves, staying on designated trails, and refraining from disturbing wildlife. By being thoughtful in our actions, we contribute to the conservation of ecosystems, allowing both plants and animals to thrive undisturbed.
Preserving natural habitats is not just a responsibility but a shared commitment. It’s a reminder that as we revel in the beauty of nature, we also hold the duty to protect it. This concept encourages everyone, from seasoned outdoor enthusiasts to casual nature lovers, to adopt practices that ensure our outdoor spaces remain pristine and welcoming for everyone.
In conclusion, as we step into 2024, let us collectively embrace a new commitment to safeguarding our planet. By deepening our appreciation for our connection with nature and engaging actively in conservation endeavours, we pave the way for a more sustainable, resilient, and harmonious world. The decisions we make today will mould the legacy we bequeath to the Earth and the generations that will follow.