[전주대 신문 제901호 14면, 발행일 : 2020년 6월 24일(수)]
I wrote an article in the last issue of The JJ Globe : “Let’s Make It Clean and Save.” So, I decided to do an experiment with environmental pollution by myself. According to the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI), we make 1,035 tons of disposable waste a day which means 380,000 tons a year. This can be converted to 400 billion won in resources annually. What is more, it costs 100 billion won in waste disposal process.
To take the first step, I decided not to allow disposable products when ordering delivery food. The number of disposable wooden chopsticks, commonly given to us while ordering delivery food, amounts to be 54 billion pairs around the world each year, and they are thrown away. China produces 19,200 tons of wooden chopsticks a year, with the number reaching 80 billion. In order to produce the number of wooden chopsticks annually used in Korea, 26 times as many trees as they grow in Namsan Mountain are needed. A pair of chopsticks takes 20 years to decompose underground. I also used an eco-bag when I went grocery shopping recently. More than 25.5 billion plastic bags are consumed annually for our convenience. Plastic bags take 20 to 1,000 years to decompose completely. If we overcome a little inconvenience for the future of the Earth where both humans and other life forms live, we will be able to enjoy the environment and pass it down to other generations.
The second step : I tried to reduce the amount of food trash. Before my experiment, I used to throw away some leftovers. I decided to eat all the food I ordered and to take in as much as I could. I realized that I should order less than what I think my share is. 4.16 million tons of food waste come out of Korea every year. It is worth 15 trillion won in cash. About 11,400 tons of food waste are generated a day, which means about 41 billion won is wasted. Food waste pollutes streams and rivers, smells bad, and costs a lot of money to dispose of it. If you order only as much as you can eat, you will save money. If you put into your dish only as much as you can eat, you won’t have to frown at the dirty streams.
The third step : I tried to recycle properly. I separated and collected food waste into a special container. I put recyclables into their designated places. You may take it for granted, but the rule is often forgotten. I met some of the cleaning staff on campus: “Students drink a lot of iced tea or coffee. After drinking about half of the cup, they just throw it away.” I walked around studio apartments near our university and checked out the trash cans. They are often in a mess. Recyclables and non-recyclables are mixed up in the same garbage can. Dangerous materials should not be thrown into an ordinary garbage can. Heavy metals and chemicals, for example, could be introduced into land and/or water during landfill. They pollute the air we breathe and the water we drink. They come back to us. Incineration also produces harmful substances for the environment, such as environmental hormones and greenhouse gases.
If you recycle well, you will be able to breathe fresh air and drink clean water. It is not difficult to protect the environment in our daily life. It is easy enough if you give up a little bit of your convenience. It is all possible if we take out the exact amount of food that we can eat, carry an eco-bag instead of a plastic bag, and read the recycling signs just once. Anyone can do it with a little care.
By Yim Jeonghun, Reporter
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