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The increase in single-use plastic during the pandemic makes recycling and the use of reusable bags more than ever necessary, but more initiatives can be taken for the environment. Here are some recommendations to help you change certain habits.
Political decisions on environmental issues are being made. This same week the Spanish Government has approved the strategy towards a circular economy to reduce the generation of waste. But citizens can also collaborate individually.
Political decisions on environmental issues are being made. But citizens can also collaborate individually.
Reducing meat consumption, betting on local products, avoiding overpacking and long marketing processes, as well as food waste are some of the individual actions that can motivate collectively. In fact, many of these actions have been put into practice during confinement.
It is necessary to always keep in mind the three 'Rs' of ecology: 'recycle', 'reuse' and 'reduce', of which the latter is the most important according to Escrivà. "We are citizens before consumers and therefore, it is necessary to ask ourselves before buying: Do I really need that?", Recalls the expert.
Furthermore, social norms can be very influential. “Before you smoked a lot but suddenly it was accepted that smoking was not cool. There was a critical mass and people adopted that behavior. If now carrying a canteen with tap water is more cool than carrying a plastic bottle, the change will drag a lot of people quickly, ”he explains.
From SINC we propose some gestures to continue protecting the environment on a day-to-day basis, in addition to using public transport, recycling, reducing plastic consumption and avoiding food waste. And remember, “that the rest of the world does it wrong does not mean that we cannot act. Every gram counts ”, Escrivà insists.
Keep your mobile as long as possible
A material called coltan - among many other minerals - is used to make mobile phones and other electronic devices, which is obtained in very few countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, generating great political instability.
The exploitation of the mines in which it occurs seriously damages the environment and generates major armed conflicts that also kill wild animals.
Therefore, the next time you go to change your mobile, console or computer, think about whether it is really necessary. Also, remember that this device could be repaired or reused, which would prevent millions of devices from ending up in homes or landfills, an emerging threat to the environment and health.
Apply this rule to the rest of your belongings because it is more important to reduce consumption than to have to recycle. At the end of the day, it's about thinking about reuse as a way of life.
Taking care of our food also contributes to the protection of the environment. For example, the consumption of local products allows not only to revalue organic varieties, but also to avoid further transport and packaging. To do this, make sure that fruits and vegetables are in season.
Regarding the consumption of fish, it is a priority to buy non-vulnerable species since overfishing is endangering the existence of fish such as bluefin tuna, cod or salmon.
According to a survey by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), four out of five Spanish consumers are willing to change their shopping habits for the sustainability of the oceans. Are you one of them?
If you want to consume meat, remember that many products come from intensive livestock where the animals are confined by the thousands in farms and factories. To maintain and feed them it is necessary to grow soybeans, corn or beets to feed them, which requires large agricultural areas that often cost the lives of large forests. Additionally, ruminants generate a large amount of methane after consuming these products. For this reason, the United Nations warned that in order to stop climate change, the consumption of meat must be reduced.
Respect wild animals
Many species go into a prolonged state of dormancy during the winter to cope with the cold (such as the brown bear, badger, squirrels or hedgehogs). Therefore, it is important that we avoid disturbing the animals when we walk through the field. This could cause them to flee or hide with serious consequences for them.
Also, when choosing an exotic vacation spot remember that wild animals are not part of the tourism industry. Contact with tourists exposes many of them, such as mountain gorillas, to diseases that can be fatal for them.
Just observe them, make as little noise as possible when you walk through their habitats and never go off the trails. In short, respect the ecosystem you walk through.
When COVID-19 allows us to resume some of the trips to exotic places, our way of traveling may no longer be the same, but avoid trying dishes made with endangered species such as shark or pangolin meat, one of the animals most threatened by poaching and possible intermediary animal for the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from bats to humans.
Illegal hunting also generates products orsouvenirs like rhinoceros horns or elephant tusks that are a challenge for the preservation of many species.
Dispose of medications at a SIGRE point
Medications are emerging organic pollutants that can pose environmental hazards if mixed with other garbage or dumped down the drain.
Antibiotics, stimulants, painkillers and psychiatric drugs that humans take end up leaving their residues in rivers, for example. This environmental impact, until recently difficult to measure, harms microorganisms even at very low concentrations of these mixtures.
To avoid the effects of drugs on the environment, all medicines and their packaging can be sent to the SIGRE point, which is in charge of recycling them.
Don't introduce invasive species
It's easy for an exotic species, like the Florida turtle, to catch your eye and want to have it at home. However, if these animals are released into a habitat that is not their own, it can be dangerous for the ecosystem and human health.
These invasive species often manage to adapt to their new environment easily. According to the European Environment Agency, the rate of new introductions through horticulture, agriculture or even the ownership of exotic animals has accelerated and there are more than 10,000 invasive species on the continent. Disposing of them later can be expensive.
Therefore, avoid having animals such as parakeets, parrots or certain exotic turtles at home and, if you have already done so, take precautions so that they are not released into the environment.