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Encourage Kids To Adopt Environment-Friendly Practices And Cut Plastic Use

In a survey conducted with over 800 Gen Z students, 39 per cent said that citizens are the ones who have the most positive impact on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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In 2017, a 40-foot carcass of a Bryde’s whale had washed ashore in two pieces in Mumbai. Following the autopsy, it was declared that the death of the whale was due to the plastic waste found in its stomach. This is being mirrored across the world as huge amounts of plastic waste in our oceans are having a fatal impact upon the planet’s fragile marine ecosystem. The market is turning to biodegradable plastics in an attempt to stem the flow of synthetic plastics and microplastics into the ocean. However, a 2016 UN report has indicated that this is not a universal remedy towards limiting the plastic pollution of our oceans. What needs to be curtailed and limited is the manufacture of plastic items such as home utilities, plastic bottles, straws, plastic paper bags and cans. Rising populations and rapid urbanization have led to a spike in demand for these materials and the products usually packed in them, which have created pollution hotspots around coastal cities.

According to several news reports, in Maharashtra itself, around 1,200 metric tons of plastic waste is generated every day. The bitter part is that it is not being properly disposed of, resulting in the mismanaged plastic waste generated in the state harming the environment through pollution of the air, sea and land.The long period of decay – approximately a 100 years for even the smallest bottle – means that this is a long-term problem with no quick solution. The continued reliance on plastics and the mismanagement of plastic waste, driven by popular demand and popular ignorance of the consequences makes this one of the most critical challenges to the conservation of our environment today.

On the occasion of World Environment Day 2018, India has committed itself to addressing this challenge by showcasing and discussing the best practices, innovations, and solutions designed to overcome this problem. It is important for us to know the scale and nature of the problem, and to also ensure that our children learn as well so that they can be informed and responsible citizens of the future. Here are a few ways in which can educate their children from an early stage and inculcate good values and habits that can lead them to a path ofsustainable development.

  • Making garbage segregation a fun activity for kids: Apart from keeping multiple dustbins at home to segregate dry waste and wet waste, explain to your kids the importance of waste segregation. Let this be more of an activity than a task. Allow your kids to identify the waste as degradable and non-degradable, and make them discard the waste in the right bins. While this activity may take time, allow your kids to practice this regularly and assign them rewards at the end of the month for their efforts. A win-win solution!
  • Reducing the dependence of processed and packaged foods: Most parents are lured by the convenience of processed and packaged foods. While they are convenient and save a lot of time and effort, most of these foods come in plastic containers. Kids, too, enjoy processed and packaged foodssuch as fruit juices, flavouredcurd, spreads,and dips. Reduce your dependence on processed and packaged foods and cut down the use of plastic containers. Take the time to whip up some interesting meals and healthy fruit juices at home. Involve your kids to help you out in these process; it will be so much fun and worth the mess in the kitchen!
  • Involving kids in community clean-ups: During a weekend or on a public holiday, take your kids along to be a part of a community clean-up. There are several activists across the country holding weekly cleanliness drives in and around their cities. For instance, lawyer and activist Afroz Shah had initiated the Versova beach clean-up campaign in Mumbai and continues with his persistent mission to clean the ocean of all plastic waste. Let your child take inspiration from such activists and help them join a community clean-up campaign. If there are no clean-ups scheduled in your locality, encourage them to plan one on their own with the help of their friends. This will make them good leaders as well as responsible citizens.
  • Discouraging the use of plastic containers: While plastic containers are lightweight, affordable and attractive, make your child understand how bad the use of plastic is for the environment. Instead of making them indulge in the price of convenience, make them responsible citizens and encourage them to choose from reusable non-plastic water bottles and tiffin boxes.
  • Encouraging creativity:While hosting birthday parties at home,think about the return gifts you intend to give. A lot of plastic toys are available in the market. Instead of buying gifts goods made of plastics, invest time and money in thinking more creatively. Gift them experiences or choose from non-plastic giveaways. The use of plastic bags should be completely avoided. Teach your kids how to make attractive paper bags. In this manner, allow your kids to be creatively engaged in environment conservation.

In a survey conducted with over 800 Gen Z students, 39 per cent said that citizens are the ones who have the most positive impact on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The survey was conducted by Worldview, a person-centric experiential learning platform for Generation-Z with an overriding focus on transformational leadership, and shows that Gen Z believe they are the ones who need to support SDGs. Also, more than 60 per cent of the students surveyed accepted that the 'State of the world' issues are a cause for concern. This again indicates that this demographic is more inclined to take prompt action than their parents. Parents should encourage this empathy and desire for a better world in their children, so that they build a sustainable future for our planet.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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