Change consumption habits to help the environment

In the report (Recycling can be too much of a good thing; March 17), the authors talk of the ills of recycling procedures.

I agree that recycling is packaged as a convenient and cure-all method to mitigate the devastating effects of our consumption patterns.

When comparing it with the incinerator-then-landfill route, recycling might seem like the lesser of two evils.

However, the only real solution would be to tackle the root of the problem, which is our thoughtless and excessive consumption of resources.

Ultimately, it all boils down to individual efforts to reduce the demand for items such as plastics in the first place. For this, we will need to sacrifice a level of personal convenience.

From carrying along our own containers for packing takeaway food to investing in reusable cloth bags for shopping, every action counts.

Imagine an office worker who packs lunch from a nearby hawker centre daily. If he used his own container and cutlery, he would cut down on 20 plastic boxes and cutlery sets in amonth.

If the thousands of office workers in Singapore did this, imagine how much less plastic waste Singapore would generate.

This would be for one meal, in one month, in one small country. This single effort, if multiplied globally, would have a resounding impact.

Realistically, I think plastic consumption will not be easily overturned because of how integral it is in our consumption habits and culture.

Thus, we desperately need to reinvent these products.

It would be a long-drawn journey to cull the problem at its source, but the efforts are both necessary and worthwhile.

I hope that as we become more aware of the urgent need for environmental action, we will take it upon ourselves to do whatever we can to make a difference.

We cannot simply push the problem away, expecting other people or the Government to do something about it.

The environment is ours, and it is up to us to make a positive change.

Selene Tanne (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2018, with the headline 'Change consumption habits to help the environment'. Print Edition | Subscribe