Plastic Pollution: A Worldwide Equal-Opportunity Fight

Did you know plastic packaging accounts for 50 percent of plastic waste around the globe? 

Think about every item you bring into your home. How many are wrapped in plastic? How much plastic wrapping gets recycled or tossed in the trash bin? While we can all practice and advocate for the reduction of plastic pollution in our homes and communities, we have to ask — are there bigger actions being taken around the globe? Or is this environmentally friendly pursuit only done on a micro-scale?

At Food for the Hungry (FH), we believe God has entrusted us to be good stewards of the home He has provided for us. And we’ve learned time and time again, when nature thrives, people thrive. That’s why we teach farmers around the globe how to farm in ways that not only produce an abundant harvest, but also conserves and enriches the soil and environment where the farmers live. We call this Farming God’s Way. But this stewardship goes beyond farming.

We also believe that when it comes to sustainable solutions, everyone has a say, a duty, and the capacity to respond, regardless of race, creed, economic status, or where you live.

Every day we hear more unsettling news about environmental issues such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity, plastic pollution, and so on. While the world continues to face mounting troubling statistics, we should remember to celebrate the small victories that occur when we join together to faithfully steward God’s land. These victories are not only inspiring, but they encourage us to continue the fight to protect our home — wherever we have the opportunity.

Read a few of the ways countries where FH serves have stepped in to reduce plastic pollution and protect the earth.

Bangladeshi man sells green vegetables in the market

Bangladesh

It looks like plastic, it feels like plastic, but is it plastic? Bangladesh was one of the first countries to ban the use of plastic and polythene bags in 2001. While it has taken many years for the ban to be successful, more recently, Bangladeshi scientists found a new alternative — compostable bags. They discovered they can use jute fibre (a common plant fibre in Bangladesh used to produce burlap bags) to create a low-cost biodegradable “throw-away” that looks and feels a lot like a regular plastic bag. According to Reuters, Bangladesh’s government recently approved nearly $1 million in funding to begin a large-scale production of the bags.

Rwanda

They’re not going to take it — anymore. Residents in Rwanda have been ahead of the curve when it comes to reducing plastic pollution, despite their post-genocide recovery and developing nation status. They first introduced a ban on non-biodegradable polythene plastic bags in 2008. In fact, these bags are illegal. Visitors can’t bring them in when they enter the country either. All throughout the country, businesses and customers alike now use recyclable paper bags. But that’s not all. The country is now looking at ways they can ban other types of plastic and become the world’s first plastic-free nation. What an inspiration!

Kenya

Can one person change the world? We think so… and James Wakibia, an environmental citizen activist in Kenya, is on his way. Joining the peers of his generation, James took to social media in 2015 to start a plastic ban campaign in the country. He used the hashtag #banplasticsKE. Just a few short months later, success abounded in the form of a supporting retweet — from Judy Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources. The hashtag then changed to #IsupportbanplasticsKE. Since then, Wakhungu has announced a ban in using, manufacturing, and importing plastic bags in Kenya. While the country has implemented bans before that were not as successful, this one is by far the strictest. Anyone who breaks the new law will be subject to either jail time or a fine. Manufacturers and suppliers are looking for biodegradable alternatives to meet the legal requirement.

Kenyan mother sells fresh vegetables.

Indonesia

Sometimes, jumping on the bandwagon is a good thing. In 2017, Indonesia joined the earth-friendly race to reduce plastic pollution (specifically in the ocean) when they joined the UN Environment’s #CleanSeas campaign. This campaign aims to pass plastic reduction policies, minimize plastic packaging, and change consumer behavior. The government pledged to cut plastic waste in 25 coastal cities. And reduce marine plastic pollution by 70% in eight years. With prominent Indonesian public figures backing this initiative, Indonesia was among the ten first countries to join this global campaign.

Protecting the Environment, Together

We are honored to work alongside communities in these countries as they take a stand to protect the environment. We are also grateful for compassionate friends like you. You help us continue our work to create sustainable change and end poverty in these very same communities.

If you’re interested in joining us in being good stewards of our land and resources, and helping families rise out of poverty at the same time, consider blessing a farmer with a conservation agriculture gift today!

 

Continue reading:

Why God Cares About Farming and You Should Too

Families Thrive When Nature Thrives

Finding Restoration in the Desert