Trillions of plastic bags are used each year. The biggest problem with this, however, is that half of all plastic produced is only for single-use purposes. The use of plastic can easily be seen in daily life: coffee shops use plastic cups, straws, and bottles, and people tend to purchase them for pure convenience. Hence, due to the indiscriminate use of plastic, the pollution in both land and sea have become the most serious issue today. According to a 2015 newsletter by Parker, the Earth has come to the point where over 90 percent of all sea animals have plastic pieces in their stomachs. However, people are too busy pushing the problem of the few resources we have left for the future generation. To bring attention to this problem, many people around the world are campaigning to stop the usage of too much plastic through various methods. On Instagram, over 400,000 posts have been uploaded with the hashtag “#saynotoplastic,” which shows that people want to show their efforts in contributing to the environment to encourage others to participate.
|[One-person protest in front of a mountain of garbage (Greenpeace Korea).
Photo Credit : Korea Herald http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190721000041]
To contribute to the global effort of stop using plastic, the Environmental Studies Society at NLCS Jeju conducts a campaign called “Beat Plastic Pollution.” The campaign, which was started in August 2018, involves the society’s members lining up every morning in front of the school to inform the students and the staff of the significance of plastic pollution and its prevention by picketing. The main idea of the project is illustrated very well in the various posters that are used. Considering that we are an international school, some of the posters are in languages other than English, as in the Chinese poster that reads “plastic warfare.” The campaign is visible to everyone who commutes to school in the morning, which makes it highly effective location-wise.
|[Students with posters. Photo Credit : The Environmental Studies Society]|
The society’s members all participate in the picket holding activity, but they each have a different role. The article writer uploads posts in the website which the website manager coordinates. The art designers create posters and pickets, and the social media manager handles all matters related to the social media account. There is also a website (https://beatplasticjeju.wixsite.com/beatplastic) that is both created and managed by the members of the society.
Apart from holding pickets, the society is preparing additional activities targeting students such as ‘beat plastic’ poster designing competition. This also includes translating the method of recycling plastic into other languages including Spanish, French and Mandarin and sending them via school email. With new members in the new academic year, more significant changes in the use of plastic inside and outside of school is expected. Consequently, the campaign influenced a number of people, including my friends and myself. It even led to the school cafe trying to use paper straws instead of plastic straws. As the project got bigger, local news outlets came to our school for interviews.
Campaigns such as the “Beat Plastic Pollution” have a positive effect on the community, as they alarm people to think one more time before adding to our already too-large pile of plastic waste. Unfortunately, there is no exact data on reductions in plastic use. However, if a student who walked pass the campaign hesitates for a moment before choosing to buy a beverage with plastic container from a store, this is a success, as seen by the members of the Environmental Studies Society. Ultimately, we hope to motivate people to make long term changes in the world which we all share.
Hanseo Lim firstname.lastname@example.org
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