LET’S ALL UNITE TO TACKLE PLASTIC POLLUTION.
The 2021 World Consumer Rights Day is here! Celebrated every 15th of March, the day is dedicated to spreading awareness of the need to respect consumer rights and to help consumers consume responsibly. This year, the theme of the celebration- Tackling Plastic Pollution- encourages consumers and producers to rethink the way they consume and produce plastics because current practices are causing adverse damages to local and international environments. FeedbackHall®gladly unites with consumers, producers, consumer protection groups and governments to emphasize the need to choose, use and dispose plastics appropriately.
The need to challenge plastic pollution is clear. Pollution caused by plastics has long-lasting adverse effects on humans, animals and plants. Pieces of plastics which often accumulate toxic chemicals end up in the food chain and threaten human health. Also, millions of tons of plastics enter our oceans every year and kill millions of sea mammals and birds. These irreparable damages to the ecosystem underscore an urgent need for urgent actions to end plastic pollution.
Burning, which is the traditional means of disposing plastic waste contributes to climate change. Therefore, the only true solution to tackling the challenge is to maximize the benefits of plastics by redesigning plastic products to cut waste, replacing plastics with more environmentally-friendly materials where possible; producing plastics that last longer; and encouraging adoption of the 7R model as much as possible.
Rethink – Whenever possible, consider buying naked products or those packaged with environmentally-friendly materials
Refuse – Say no to disposable cups, plates and straws
Reduce – Cut plastic waste by using only reusable plastic products
Reuse – Repurpose a plastic item to extend lifetime
Recycle –Demand better access to waste management and collection
Repair – Repair and reuse broken or damaged plastics to limit waste
Replace – Replace single-use plastic items with reusable products
Already, most consumers across the globe report awareness of the need for positive attitudes towards the environment, but they often seem unwilling to follow through with actions. Several studies indicate that consumers are aware of plastic pollution and some even found that consumers are already taking steps to end it.For instance, in a global study conducted by Kantar and GfK in 2019, respondents said they were using reusable cleaning utensils instead of single-use plastic alternatives (82%); bringing reusable bags when shopping (72%); and using refillable drinking bottles (62%), but it is recently estimated that 8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans every year; 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually; and by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish!
Similarly, in a plastic awareness survey conducted by FeedbackHall on feedbackhall.com, the majority of the 300 Nigerian consumers that responded to the survey said they were aware that: littering of plastics can block drainage systems (94%); plastics in the soil release harmful chemicals that make water unsafe for consumption (65%); eating meals cooked in plastic bags and plates can cause health challenges (69%), yet only 37 percent said they intentionally choose more environmentally friendly materials over plastic and only 10 percent said they reuse and recycle plastics.
Since consumers’ knowledge of plastic pollution do not seem to be influencing their purchase and consumption behaviours, Governments, Industry Associations, and businesses need to invest more in the provision of more practical policies, regulations, infrastructure, advice and guidelines that support consumers to take practical steps against plastic pollution. In addition, scholars need to change from surveys on which consumers bubble in and indicate mere wishes to conducting researches that yield more useful intelligence and practical framework that support consumers, businesses and other stakeholders in challenging plastic pollution and other environmental issues.
FeedbackHall®, a consumer feedback service will continue to help in shaping and improving the world of consumers and businesses by providing real time, genuine consumer experiences, feedback, intelligence and insights that can be used to provide the much needed practical support for stakeholders. The firm connects consumers and businesses on its website- www.feedbackhall.com -and mobile app to give and take feedback which is one of the most important inputs in enhancing quality, improving experiences and upgrading the world.