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Actions speak louder than Words

Water Pollution with Trash Disposal of W (CC BY 2.0) by

Speakers at the highest level of government across the world breathed a sigh of relief at the result of the Paris Climate Conference. But the tough part comes now: the implementation of the international agreement and the monitoring of each step of the process. A majority of citizens were also relieved to see that this agreement had been finally approved. Yet, it must not dispense them to make a bit of an effort. Because of course climate change is everyone's responsibility. Let us look at some specific examples that call for behavioural changes. We must drastically reduce the number of plastic bags distributed through retail outlets and ultimately ban these free shopping bags. Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide (Fig. Earth Policy Institute). They contaminate the soil and water and eventually animals upon digestion. According to the UN Environment Programme every square meter of ocean contains approximately 70,000 pieces of plastic floating in it! Is it too painful for the consumer, which includes every one of us, to shop with reusable bags? And we who are frenetic users of new technologies, we leave on a global scale nearly 42 million tonnes (Fig.2014) of electrical and electronic waste. Yet, only one sixth of this tonnage is properly recycled. Is it too painful for the consumer to bring back or return the "obsolete" products to the retailer? And let us not forget that manufacturers also bear a significant share of responsibility for this nonchalant attitude. In concluding this brief review, we should all mobilize and not expect the state to shoulder the entire load.

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