A few days ago I left the office quite late. As I wanted to buy some bread for dinner, I came by a convenience store near my residence. Just before I enter through the store’s glass door I saw a dozen of people queuing for the cashier. For a small store, this is quite a crowd. The line was near the front door so I should do a little pushing to get inside.
Without a lot of consideration, I took a bread from the rack. It’s just my usual choice. I did not want to eat a lot that evening. I passed another rack and saw a pop mie. And I thought it would be very nice to have one, so I added one to my shopping list. I got back into the cashier line with the same amount of people as I came in. There were more people came and went. Here, in one of the world’s most crowded cities, it was common sight actually.
I looked at people’s shopping items. Some shopped a lot of items, but I saw most of them are shop just one or two. I shake my head as I saw all of these people requested a plastic bag to wrap their items. This small store serving hundreds of citizens a day. If there are hundreds of more similar stores in this city, there are likely millions of plastic bag circulating every day. And we know where they will end: we will dispose of them eventually.
My Country is The World’s No.2 Plastic Waste Producer
Cities all around the world produce 1,3 billion tonne of plastic waste each year. My country, Indonesia, is world’s no.2 after China in terms of producing plastic wastes. Based on research by Greeneration, an Indonesian NGO, every Indonesian citizen approximately uses 700 plastic bags each year. That is direly incredible numbers.
I do not want to describe the numbers in details nor to make a reminder that plastic materials approximately requires 500 years to dissolve. I assume people know this well. And yet plastic bags keep mounting even higher. Some of these plastic wastes go to the ocean, dissolving into toxic substances, and disrupting the ecosystem. And the solutions are not policies, regulations, and measures by the government anymore. Paid plastic bags will not solve the problem. It has to be a habit. And It has to start from each of us.
People Always Say about Big Things
What are the world’s concerns? The world is in a danger. The generation cannot be given any hope. We are leading to our own destruction. People put these statements everywhere. We hear them too often we become resistance–they do not sound scary anymore.
Humans are too concerned about the big things, the whole pictures. If we observe in detail, pictures are made from tiny pixels. These pixels are so small that you won’t notice, in the case of digital pictures, until you put your nose in front of the screen. Pixels are arranged in orderly and neatly manner and producing awesome images.
Now, if we want a big change to happen we should pay attention to these pixels, the small habits. We can improve minor bad habits into more positive habits. Then, we could arrange the small positive habits neatly and orderly to produce great changes.
To end this miserable news or disaster is by really starting from small habits such as getting rid of using plastic bags.
To Start Small is Easy
I shop three times a week at average. There was a time when many plastic bags are scattered in my room. I feel guilty each time I throw them away just after I shopped. So I figured out the best way is not to use them so I don’t have to do this bad habit.
For several months recently, I have stopped shopping using plastic bags. I decided to carry my own backpack or a used cloth bag to carry my items. And I surprised at how easy it was to switch to this positive habit. All we need is awareness and commitment. If you read this I say to you that you can and you will avoid using plastic bags too.