June 5, 2010

World Environment Day

How long does it take for plastic to decompose?

I guess no one knows for sure, but it is presumed that plastic does not begin to decompose in a landfill for at least 1,000 years and in certain types like styrofoam, it is estimated that the decomposition process can last up to a million years!

Thankfully, use of plastic is being minimized in many places now, some countries have restricted use of plastic bags and a few cities have also banned it. I am also guilty of carelessly discarding chocolate wrappers everywhere in the past but not anymore since I have taken Ecology and Tourism seriously.

Hemkund is a popular pilgrimage site for people of the Sikh religion. It is accessible only by foot from Ghangaria and is situated in the lap of higher Himalayan mountains at an altitude of 4,200 m (13,770 feet) from the sea level!

Here are some pictures taken while on my way to Hemkund after my trek to the Valley of Flowers. It was a misty day.

Himalayan Brahmakamal (Saussurea obvallata)

Himalayan Blue Poppy (a species of Meconopsis)

In the pictures above are two rare plant species. The first is the much revered Brahmakamal and the other is the Himalayan Blue Poppy.

Now look at this picture:

In this photograph is seen a raincoat irresponsibly discarded in the lush green valleys of the Himalayas!

Many pilgrims make a day trip to the Hemkund gurudwara to and from Ghangaria during the tourist season and, not mentioning other litter, I came across quite a few pieces of plastic raincoats discarded along the way to Hemkund Sahib. Pathetic.

At this rate, how long can our biodiversity last?

Today is World Environment Day. Though we should respect the environment we live in everyday, June 5 every year is highlighted to stimulate awareness of our environment and calling out for some public action to save our planet.

What did you do or intend to do to contribute on World Environment Day? I’ve put up this blog post. You could write a post too, or:
  • Dispose of garbage responsibly
  • Avoid littering
  • Use public transportation as far as possible
  • Use recycling facility if available
  • Conserve water
  • Conserve electricity
  • Not disturb wildlife
  • Plant a tree
  • Respect nature
The list can go now, but I'll stop. I’d love to hear how you contributed in your own little way.

As I am about to publish this post, I see a person outside my window carelessly discarding a cigarette butt on the ground.

Cigarette butts are not bio-degradable due to the presence of cellulose acetate, another form of plastic, in them. These filters can leach toxic chemicals and persist in the environment like other forms of plastic. Studies have pointed out how cigarette butts pose a threat to wildlife. Cigarette filters have been found in the digestive system of birds, fish, whales and other marine creatures who mistake them for food!

It is no wonder that despite mounting efforts, the loss of world's biological diversity is continuing at an alarming rate!

On this World Environment Day, let us strive to become responsible human beings of Planet Earth.


Mridula said...

I know I have seen this so many times ourself, most of the time we pick up as much as we can.

rainboy said...

You've made me hate myself for being a smoker. :(

indicaspecies said...

Though the Valley of Flowers is beautiful, its base Ghangaria has fallen a prey to commercialisation and Hemkund is getting littered. With thousands of tons of garbage collecting in the Himalayas, how much can we pick and help? Nevertheless, a drop in the ocean! Seems like some serious action is needed from higher authorities...if not for anything else, at least for aesthetic reasons.

Haha..Sorry about that!
Perhaps the energy spent on that "hate" can be channeled towards "giving up smoking"!? ;)

rainboy said...

yes...soon very soon.I am trying hard.

Zhu said...

Pollution is a real problem is many parts of the world. It is rare these days to see a place that is totally free of garbage, water/ air/ soil pollution etc. We just can't keep on going like that!

Trotter said...

Hi Celine! Great post. Responsible!!

Blogtrotter Two is departing Turkey 2009! Enjoy the views and have a great week ahead!!

Anu said...

true, Celine... there is nothing more irritating on a trip than to see so much of rubbish.... and the worst part is when we try to look for a dustbin or carry our garbage bags along, there are umpteen people who think we are crazy and come up to give us 'advice'....

Indrani said...

Great thoughtful post. I sometimes dread to think what kind of world are we leaving behind for our children. Will they ever be proud of us?!

Anonymous said...

completely agree with u. its high time that we stop abusing nature in the name of development.but what hurts me more is that when so called educated people litter roads, streets, parks and any other place they can step their foot on.when i asked my friends not to throw bus tickets, wrappers of eatables on the road they laughed at me and retorted back "stop others first".ever heard of proverb "charity begins at home". i do eveything i can in my little ways to help and preserve nature.i worship nature and hope one day i would get a chance to explore every beauty of nature and capture it in my memories forever. also planning to get into rose farming as saoon as i am able to.thanks for sharing the lovely pics.

Manasa said...

Completely second what you hav written. Unlike, China, India should also ban plastic and encourage the use of bicycles and many more...