‘Fish that Swallowed Plastic Bottles’ attracts Crowd at Malpe Beach?
Mangaluru: Surprise! The caption might take you by surprise since it is not a real fish that has swallowed all that plastic, but an creative sculpture on Malpe Beach to bring an awareness about the damage done by plastic materials to marine life- and this unique concept has been created by sculptor Janardhan Havanje, which is made of iron rods, and cost him nearly Rs 45,000 to make this 10 ft tall and 8 ft wide sculpture-which is filled with plastic waste collected on the beach, during the campaign.
When you look at the sculpture you will be surprised how much plastic is dumped into the sea- and eventually small plastic particles are swallowed by the marine animals, and they get stuck in their system, resulting in death. But artist Janardhan speaking to media said, ” My sculpture is actually a trash bin, where people who visit the beach can dump garbage into it, instead of littering on the beach, which later flows into the sea water. The sculpture is also to bring awareness that marine life in the sea/ocean is actually consuming the disposed waste, and therefore we are losing many species of marine life due to plastic waste, which is creating an imbalance in the environment”.
More than 600 students from various colleges around Udupi participated in the cleanliness drive as part of World Environment day, which had a theme ” Beat Plastic Pollution”. It is learnt that during monsoon one tonne of waste is collected everyday at Malpe beach, and during rest of the year it is only 300-500 kg of waste collected-of which only 10% of garbage is littered by tourists, while 90% is disposed by neighboring industries and houses. Eventually the waste then reaches into the sea water and will be swallowed by the marine animals, leading into their deaths.
On 5 June, all over the world beach fronts are most sought after as important and necessary recreational space for society, said United Nations environment chief Erik Solheim recently. “Avoid what you don’t need” is Solheim’s simple mantra to cut down plastic use, thus reducing its disposal in the absence of recycling tools. With the theme ‘beat plastic pollution’, Solheim said, “people need to avoid what they don’t need and stop single use plastics such as straws, cups, plates, spoons. Stop buying two apples in a plastic tray and wrapped in plastic.’’ “The goal would be have artificial intelligence to produce plastic that is highly biodegradable and recycle all plastic.’’ Policy changes and business models need to change too he said, exhorting businesses to adopt an environment friendly stand.
It is time for us to see the plastic and the harm it causes us. I hope the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution” doesn’t end on World environment Day. Our hunger for the convenience of plastic products is insatiable. Buy it, use it, throw it away, buy another one — drinks come in plastic bottles with plastic drinking straws; food comes wrapped in cling film; fast food is served in polystyrene containers with plastic cutlery. No need to wash up; just throw it away. Sorted. If only that were true. Modern society has become addicted to plastic and it is high time that we started to wean ourselves off. A start would be to devise proper schemes to manage plastic — alternatives to burying it, burning it or dumping it in rivers to be carried out to sea.
All of the plastic that ends up in our oceans originates from land; nine-tenths of it is carried into the sea. Plastic debris is unsightly and the authorities of seaside resorts organise clean-ups to make sure that the beaches are in a fit state for tourists. But as well as being offensive to the eye, plastic waste is posing a serious threat to our already embattled wildlife. Drinking straws, cotton buds, shopping bags, plastic fishing nets all pose a danger to animals that either become entangled in them, are impaled by them or eat them — turtles in particular eat plastic bags because they resemble jellyfish which are their normal prey.
This is all very sad for the individual animals affected and potentially disastrous for rare species, already battling with habitat loss, prey depletion, over-exploitation and a series of other, mainly man-made, threats. But as plastics enter the food chain, there are likely to be direct effects for people too, because the planet’s premier predators are humans. Eventually, the plastic from the discarded wrapper may end up in the fish on our dinner plate.
While India is the Host Country for this year’s World Environment Day with its theme of “Beat Plastic Pollution”, we should actively participate in this year’s World Environment Day campaign, and take steps not to pollute the environment with plastic materials. Let’s “Beat Plastic Pollution”. Period!