I would like to call on the authorities to consider implementing a system to keep trash in our rivers from flowing into the ocean, not unlike those mentioned in the feature piece, ‘Trash traps chew at huge ocean plastics problem’, published in the Bulletin yesterday.
Admittedly, the country has been pouring efforts into swaying the public away from single-use plastics, such as No Plastic Bag campaign, which has now become a way of life.
However, more needs to be done to make the populace more mindful of how much plastic we use on a daily basis.
It is most evident in the number of beach clean-ups organised each year. No matter how often these beaches are tackled, there seems to be more trash to be cleared away, leaving one to wonder if the issue lies in our perception of what plastic pollution really means.
We live in a throwaway society, where convenience rules. We get bubble milk tea that comes in a plastic cup and covered with a plastic lid, and we sip through a plastic straw. We order takeout from a restaurant, and more often than not, it comes in a plastic container with complimentary plastic cutlery.
While it is good to see that we no longer go to supermarkets without carrying along grocery bags, our awareness on the environmental impact plastics have on the planet is rather shallow.
Perhaps the better way forward is to build a trash trapping system, which also has an added bonus of drawing a crowd, such as Mr Trash Wheel in the feature story. Not only would it raise awareness on plastic pollution, it could also be incorporated into the school curriculum, such as science assignments or educational outings. It may even turn into a tourist attraction if it sat near a place of interest such as Kampong Ayer.
The past two years of battling COVID-19 threats are indicative of how adaptable we are to a new reality. So maybe it is time for us to take a serious look at our existing lifestyle and find ways to divorce ourselves from the obsession with single-use plastics.