A Sri Lankan rally cry

In the summer of 2018, I went to the beautifully diverse country of Sri Lanka, also known as “The nations of smiling people” or “The teardrop of the Indian Ocean”. This popular tourist destination largely attracts people from all around the world to come experience the laid back, and rich heritage of the Buddhist traditional way of life. As the official and primary religion of Sri Lanka, Buddhism is one of the main reasons Sri Lanka has become a magnet for culturally interested, spiritual, adventurous individuals like myself. This is predominantly due to the nature of the Buddhist teachings and philosophies, of which influences the ethos of the people and preserves traditional customs while nurturing their heritage.

 

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I’ve recently got back from Sri Lanka, and although it’s an exquisitely picturesque country with incredible wildlife and stunning views, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of waste and litter everywhere. Having travelled around a bit and visited a few beaches in Wadduwa, a town in the Western province just south of Colombo, we started to notice the recurring theme of copious amounts of plastic lying conspicuously on the sand where the tide had gone out and left it there. Only, it isn’t the sea leaving this plastic there, but us humans. I believe it is our responsibility as a society, as a civilisation and as a world to change the way we discard our plastic waste.

Seeing these stunning beaches in such a well-preserved country with the most gentle, kindest people really got me thinking, more so than ever before about the beautiful planet we share.

This made me reflect about our natural environment and the compromising atmosphere and position that we’ve put ourselves in, the simple fact that we all have to exist here on this Earth and so will our future generations. The simple act of me picking up a few pieces of plastic and catching a flying newspaper destined to wash up on our beaches, is the positive forward moment we need to enforce and the optimistic, caring attitude we all need to own.Travelling through the country is it impossible not to see the detrimental effects plastic usage in the Western world has on the rest of the plastic. It is easy for us to assume that plastic waste is someone else's problem but the problem really down to us and our own day-to-day consumption. Think about this; your children or your nieces and nephews will have to suffer in this world with pollution, global warming and dying species. 

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It’s not hard to use the bins provided.

It isn’t difficult to pick up some rubbish off the floor.

It is not a task for you to ask for a drink without a plastic straw, or to reuse it on your next drink.

Do you really need that plastic bag to carry your drink? Do you really need to keep buying bottled water when a water bottle you own at home will suffice?

Is a drink from a plastic bottle essential? 

If everyone changed habits from their everyday lives to help the bigger picture, then it will help to reduce the amount of sea life getting stuck in plastic bags or ingesting rubbish from our carelessness.

 

I’m not asking you to single-handedly save our world, but to just think about what you’re doing and what you’re buying because if we all did this, over time this world can be restored to the natural, beautiful world it once was.

A wonderful idea I first heard of on Instagram from an influencer, is the idea of holiday beach clean ups. This is where you either go to an organised beach clean-up event or create one yourself. I did this in Sri Lanka, and I want to encourage others to do the same. With the rising number of beaches being polluted with plastic, it’s become a popular trend to do and post the before and after photos online. You can find examples of people doing this online by searching #beachclean. What a fantastic idea, I challenge you to do the same and use these hashtags!

#beachclean #beachcleanup #beachcleaning

Written by Tash Houghton