By Iylia Marsya Iskandar
A video of a turtle with a straw stuck in its nose emerged on the internet and caused an uproar, worldwide. Several weeks later, a photo of a whale died of starvation due to a plastic bag that hinders its digestion surfaced through the internet and had awakened everyone with a thought,
Are we the reason that animals are going extinct?
Environmentalists have pledged to ban the usage of straws and plastic bags several times over the recent years and International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) has decided to follow suit.
Straws has become a flashpoint against plastic waste. Banning plastic product is a stepping stone in an effort to rid the world’s bodies of water waste. If we don’t take action now, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Plastic straws end up in the ocean through activities such as littering, being blown out of trash cans, or being left on beaches. Plastic straws and plastic bags are also one of the top ten items found during beach cleanups (strawlessocean.org). Both plastic straws and plastic bags take over 200 years to decompose. Even after they are decomposed, they become microplastics and can never be completely broken down (4ocean.com).
Although there is no silver-bullet solution to plastic pollution, efforts are never wasted and here’s a list of reasons how banning straws and plastic will benefit the IIUM public:
Less plastic wastage
Straws and plastic bags are one of the most disposed plastics in IIUM. You can find both of these items loitering around IIUM and instead of disposing it in recycling bins, most people throw it inside trashcans instead. With this ban in mind, it can influence people to recycle their plastics and subsequently there will be less litter in IIUM.
As we know, IIUM is rich in terms of biodiversity. We have fishes, monitor lizards and even monkeys! The plastics and straw ban will decrease the chance of plastics getting into the river and create a river that is more pleasant to the eyes.
Save money on plastics
With the recent ban, cafes and kiosks can save an amount of money that is used to buy plastic bags and straws. Instead, they can use these money for other more important things for the betterment of IIUM.
Any step towards change is important, and we can never right our wrongs to the planet unless we start somewhere. We must sober up and break our addiction to single-use plastics, and reducing our straw and plastic bags consumption is a start.
Only one per cent of plastic bags are recycled. Reducing their use would create a huge effect on the environment. Combined with the reduction of plastic straw usage, plastic pollution in the ocean would be reduced significantly.
Let us all strive towards cleaner oceans, greener Malaysia and a better IIUM!***