This year on 22nd of April will mark the 48th Earth Day. A simple idea that got its roots after a spill of oil, which caused the death of over 10.000 birds, dolphins, seagulls and sea lions. This event meant a birth to various organizations and movements for the conservation of nature.
First Earth day was recorded in 1970 in the United States and has since then spread all over the world. This event is now celebrated with more than one billion people in 192 countries all over the world. During this event, a large number of cleaning campaigns are taking place around the globe. One such event was also held in Ljubljana. The annual cleaning campaign called For prettier Ljubljana is taking place from 22nd of March till 22nd Of April. On Saturday we were cleaning the Ljubljanica river from Špica to Dragons bridge. More than 1,5 tons of different waste was found in just that one section of the river, this waste consists most from bikes etc. The final event was accompanied by a cultural event and in regards to thanking the people for taking care of the environment, passers-by received »honey plants« from the Botanical garden of Ljubljana. The plants, of course, are the most suitable for our beautiful hard workers – Carniolan bee.
This year’s slogan of Earths day is End Plastic Pollution. Plastic, the substance that people are faced with daily is considered a huge polluter of our planet. Islands of plastic and shores covered in plastic are sad indicators of improper dealing with plastic waste. This is especially true for less developed countries, which have inadequate waste policies. Currently, we are producing more than 300 million tons of plastic annually for the production of plastic shopping bags, plastic bottles and other plastic packaging. Only 10% of what is produced is recycled or reused, which brings a lot of concern for the environment. All other wastes end in various landfills, whether legal or illegal. Plastic waste releases various hazardous chemicals into the soil.Unless we want to witness a big environmental disaster we will need to, very soon find good and sustainable solutions for plastic waste.
According to some estimates by 2050 the ocean will contain, by weight more plastic waste than fish. The plastic production itself is very environmentally unfriendly because it requires fossil fuels. One plastic bah need 10-20 years to decompose, the plastic bottle need up to 450 years and one plastic straw needs up to 200 years to decompose, so next time you are thinking about buying/using those, think about the environment first. If put in another perspective, the first plastic bottle for commercial use was made in 1947. This means that this bottle is not yet »completly« decomposed and will completely decompose in the year 2397. Even after this year, the bottle won’t be »completly« gone as the plastic bottle will turn into microplastic.
In 2016 Slovenia generated 59.000 tons of plastic waste. This may sound like a huge number, but this is 19% less than the previous year. Plastic waste accounted for only 1,1% of all waste collected in Slovenia. Most of the waste was generated by »service activities« (49%), in this category included is also tourism industry, followed by industrial waste (46%). Slovenians generated least of the combined plastic waste in their households (5%). Out of this only, 24% of plastic waste is recycled, meaning we still need to search and adopt better practices. The power to improve these problems lays in us as individuals to take more care in how we live our every day lives. For example, we don’t need to buy a new plastic bag every time we go grocery shopping – bring a cotton bag instead, we don’t need to drink water from the plastic container – drink from glass bottles and we don’t need to drink our drinks with a straw. These are just simple steps towards better future for our planet. In the end, we must make sure that our plastic waste ends in the right color of the bin – YELLOW (in Slovenia). We at Hotel Park Urban & Green make sure that all of our waste in properly sorted.
On the Earths day, there are also various events taking place in Ljubljana. Kinodvor will be playing two movies to raise awareness among people – Unforgettable Day and the City of Light. In creative children’s playground Minicity, they designed different activities for children to teach them about care for the environment. Activities were designed in cooperation with Ecologists without border and Mak.