By Surabhi Panday

When we talk about clean living, we “KonMari-fi” our bodies, homes and office spaces but what about the planet that we live on and happily abuse with nary a thought? 

On one hand, Singapore along with the rest of the world recently celebrated Earth Hour and millions of people participated in various environmental awareness programs as well as sustainability activities.

But on the other hand, every time we refresh the news feed on social media, we come across at least two new stories about how whales are dying all over the world due to increasing water pollution. In light of recent cases of dead whales with tonnes of plastic trash in their body, waste management and pollution control have become more relevant globally.

For Singapore, water has always been an everyday resource, that many of us take for granted.

Statistics suggest that the amount of soil-waste disposed of in Singapore has grown by seven-fold from around 1,260 tonnes a day in 1970 to over 8,400 tonnes in 2017. To keep the waterways clean, it is of utmost importance to control soil pollution because pollutants from the soil can enter the water system and cause harm to aquatic life as well as result in water-borne diseases. 

Here are some everyday habits that promote sustainability, help keep our waterways clean and prevent or at least cut down on pollution:

    Carry Jute Bags When You Go Shopping

The reason behind most of the whales found dead around the world was due to the consumption of plastic waste found discarded in our ocreans and waterways. Singapore’s streets, beaches and public areas are meticulously clean. While there is no visible litter to be found, plastic still remains a major issue even in the Lion City.

With the increasing use of disposable products, Semakau – the man-made island where Singapore dumps it’s trash – which was supposed to last until the year 2045, could be full a decade earlier. 

So, the next time you are out shopping, please remember to carry a reusable jute or cotton bag or even re-use an old plastic bags, just be sure to say “no” to any unnecessary packaging and wrapping. 

•    Reuse Plastic Containers, Bags And Packaging Materials 

In 2017, only 6 % of used plastic was recycled, leaving behind a giant pile of trash. Recycling and reusing are the most efficient methods for waste management. If you reuse plastic bottles, containers, bags and packaging materials, it not only reduces waste but is also cost-efficient.

•    Bring Your Own Reusable Mug To The Café

Each time you have a cup of coffee at a Starbucks, instead of drinking from the disposable cups (which are not recycable fyi), bring along a reusable mug. This will help reduce waste and you will hopefully set an example to the others.

•    Your Toilet And Kitchen Sink Is Not A Garbage Disposal

Your toilet and kitchen pipes are connected to sewers that are connected to the main water supply/recycling plant. You must remember that your toilet and kitchen sink is not a garbage disposal.

Throwing used diapers, tissues, tampons in the toilet or food waste in the sink makes the water toxic and causes pollution and is just plain irresponsible and lazy. 

•    Pick Up Pet Waste And Dispose Of It In The Garbage

Pet waste, if left on the streets, can get washed away with the rainwater into storm drains and water supplies. Cleaning up after your pet not only helps keep the neighbourhood clean but also prevents water pollution. Plus you are giving other animals a bag reputation by being a too lazy to clean up after your pooch.

These are some very easy to adopt everyday habits that promote a sustainable and clean living culture and can help protect the planet – on which you live in mind you – in the long run.

Resources like water are mandatory for the survival of life on earth and it is high time that each one of us starts doing our bit towards protecting the planet and being more responsible citizens.