Environmental Activism as Career to bring solution from pollution
Ranjan K Baruah
Is there any one amongst us who wants polluted surroundings? No, certainly not but we are the one who are environmental criminals and making our planet more dirty and polluted. What is the deepest point in the ocean, the Mariana trench, and the highest mountain peak in the world, Mt. Everest, have in common? And the answer is , despite being among the planet's most remote and inaccessible environments, they both contain tiny pieces of plastic from human activities miles away. It is clear now that without urgent action, the estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic currently entering the ocean annually will triple in the next twenty years.
We should know that some 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow annually into the oceans. This may triple by 2040. More than 800 marine and coastal species are affected by this pollution through ingestion, entanglement, and other dangers. A shift to a circular economy can reduce the volume of plastics entering oceans by over 80 per cent by 2040; reduce virgin plastic production by 55 per cent; save governments US$70 billion by 2040; reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent; and create 700,000 additional jobs – mainly in the global south.
More than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year worldwide, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 per cent is recycled. An estimated 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers and seas annually. That is approximately the weight of 2,200 Eiffel Towers all together. Microplastics – tiny plastic particles up to 5mm in diameter – find their way into food, water and air. It is estimated that each person on the planet consumes more than 50,000 plastic particles per year –and many more if inhalation is considered.
This underscores the importance of this year’s World Environment Day (WED) in mobilizing transformative action from every corner of the world. WED is observed around the world on 5th June and it is one of the most popular events observed all over the world. This year’s focus is to beat plastic pollution. The year 1972 marked a turning point in the development of international environmental politics: the first major conference on environmental issues, convened under the auspices of the United Nations, was held from June 5-16 in Stockholm (Sweden). Later that year, on 15 December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/2994 (XXVII)) designating June 5 as WED.
It is not too easy to leave without plastic as it has become part and parcel of life but what we need to do is to limit its usage and look for an alternative. One of the career options may be in the field of environmental activism. Aspirants from any academic background may become activists but it is always important if they are equally academically qualified to understand the terms related to environment. There are courses like Graduation/Post Graduation in Environmental Sciences. Many colleges and universities offer these courses in India and abroad. There are similar courses like life sciences, ecology, etc.
There are voluntary organizations like youth clubs, nongovernmental organisations engaged in different environmental activities. The activity includes from pure research to activism and generating awareness amongst the public. There are opportunities in media houses and law too as environmental laws are equally important which brings opportunity for lawyers to become environmental activists. One must have effective communication and a positive personality to be successful in this field. Let us bring solutions and not pollution and choose environmental activism as our career choice by bringing solutions and innovations by us or inspire others to do the same.