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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Travelers – Time To Start Using Less Plastic

Plastic is the biggest polluter around us, and it's our duty as travelers to reduce the use of disposable plastics while we travel.

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Pradeep Chamaria
Pradeep Chamaria
I am a photojournalist. Love to travel to unknown and unexplored vistas. Since 1992, I make places desirable for other travelers through experiential Travel Writing.

INDIA: Travelling in the post-pandemic era is certainly going to be a lot different. It will depend a lot on your location and also on where you’re going. There will be different guidelines and one should check local restrictions of your proposed destination and strictly follow those and also all other safety regulations. We should behave more responsibly now and take care of our environment more seriously. You should be thinking about how you are traveling the world we live in. Of course, his is not going to be simple. We can start by looking at our habits and start changing them one by one. Using less plastic is one of them.

Starting small never hurts. It can definitely have a huge effect. So are we, as travelers, ready to start with this first challenge by committing to reduce the number of disposable plastics we use while we travel.

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Plastic is the biggest polluter around us. Whether it is oceans, hills or even deserts, plastic is a big killer. It kills mammals and fish and coral in the oceans and also makes the beaches dirty. Plastics in hills affect the reproduction cycle of vegetation as well as wildlife, and even in the cities we live in, it creates garbage.

Facts about plastics

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According to data collected by various agencies, anything made with plastics, like grocery bags, straws, and soda bottles takes more than 500 years to decompose. And it’s alarming as people currently use over 2 million plastic items per minute.

Discarded Water Bottle, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria

These products are now being banned by many countries. We as travelers also have to pitch in our efforts to make this a global initiative, and pay attention to how much plastic we’re using and disposing of.

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Now the question is how to reduce use of plastic when you travel?

Recycling is certainly an option, and it’s easy to do while at home, but certainly difficult while on the road. As mentioned before, smaller steps can help combat the unnecessary use of disposable plastics and lessen the burden on our environment.

Simple steps that a traveler can follow:

Carrying a reusable water bottle

We need water while we travel, in fact, we all need a lot of water to keep us hydrated. And, the easiest option in the market is to buy disposable plastic water bottles that you can use once and throw away. Now that’s what has to be avoided. And the way out is to buy a reusable bottle that can be refilled with safe drinkable water at various stops you take.

Yes, there is this question of safe drinking water, technology has a solution for this, you can get a reusable water bottle fitted with a built-in water purifier/filter.  

Stop drinking tea/coffee in plastic cups/ Make a habit of carrying your own coffee which can also be handy to have your coffee-to-go.

Stop using plastic straws

The data says, only in the USA, people use 500 million plastic straws per day. Now that’s alarming as straw is not recyclable. And are dumped into landfills and often we see wildlife in oceans, and stray animals in developing countries choked to death with straws in their nostrils. The best option to avoid this is to drink directly from a glass or carry a steel straw with you. Today, reusable straws made of bamboo or tree branches are also available.

Other simple steps to follow:

  • Carry your own reusable bags – An empty bag foldable tote bag or backpack for your travels has almost no weight and we can easily pack it in our luggage.
  • Using hotel toiletries – Carry your own toiletries like shampoo, lotion, and dental kits, etc. The ones that the hotel supplies are very tiny bottles and get thrown away by the hotel staff even if they are half used, once you check-out.
  • Carry your own utensils – Almost all of the food you eat while sightseeing is served to you on plastic utensils, and are thrown away. This can be avoided by carrying a multi-use utensil that can be easily cleaned and kept in your backpack.
Empty Snacks Packet, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria

Most of these simple tips are easy to follow and helps you contribute towards saving our environment and also leaving it as beautiful for future generations. Also, why only while traveling, let’s all practice these in our daily lives and reduce plastic usage.

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