Part 2: Realizing the truth about the world’s environmental issues
I was a beginner in the topic of environmental issues and now, I am in a learning position instead. During the first few months of my travels, I had no idea whatsoever of the environmental issues impacting our planet. In this post, I will share the experiences where I had no prior knowledge of these problems. But somehow I began to gradually feel the reality and truly see the negative impacts on our planet with my own eyes. Today, I would like to start off by sharing the sights I witnessed during my time in Sri Lanka, India and Thailand via some of my photos taken there. This is the second part of my story, if you would like to see the first introductory post, please click the link below.
Come see my travel experiences through my eyes
Here, plastic waste was floating in the sea as sea turtles sought for food on the shore. Many turtles visit the beach here in search for food followed by the tourists who come to see this spectacle. There was plastic waste floating on top of a raising wave. Tourists got in the way of the turtles trying to find food and shelter on the shores. On the other hand, in the places of the beachside where people did not tread, there was an overwhelmingly large amount of plastic seen. There, I found a sea turtle, eating away on plastic most probably due to its familiar jellyfish-like shape. This was the only place it could find some peace and quiet, away from the crowd.
Then a thought came across my mind “I am really living in such a world where I feel such stress seeing this with my own eyes?” My heart began to hurt.
A lost stray dog looking for food beneath the piled plastic trash. There were many wild dogs in Southeast Asia. Among them, the one who caught my eyes was a dog that scooped up some trash and ate it. I saw tons of plastic waste thrown away on the street as I continued on.
A pile of rubbish that appeared in a residential area with a mother and her child standing on top of it. These were some of the sights I saw while on a bus. I couldn’t even bare to take pictures because of the painstaking shock. We suddenly came towards another residential area and there I noticed piles upon piles of trash everywhere. I think the total amount was about the size of a basketball court. Another local mother was holding her baby in her arms with her older daughter standing next to her. I did not know what I was doing and what I thought at that moment, but I never imagined to see the reality of what I once had seen on TV.
Garbage was discarded in the mountains, here and there. How was this rubbish brought here in the first place? Why and how of all places was it abandoned here?
Here, you see a truck carrying trash sent from overseas. These trucks were carrying garbage out in the open road. As I walked through the town, there was a never-ending line of these trash trucks as far as the eye could see.
It seemed that wild animals were also having a lot of trouble finding food to eat. Instead of fields of green grass growing, there were only piles of plastic trash everywhere. Garbage was dumped in areas where almost no people inhabited. The wild animals I saw were all emiciated and unable to find food due to the overwhelming amounts of pollution in their habitat.
Plastics took over the world’s most beautiful beaches and negatively impacted the marine wildlife once co-existing with it. When the tide dropped, I spotted a small puddle of seawater. There it was again, plastic, right next to the marine animal living there.
Although this area was supposed to be an uninhabited island, plastic trash still somehow found its place here as well.
Here, there was trash which was irresponsibly thrown away by tourist, leaving it on this beach behind a small shop. As you can see, the ocean is located immediately behind this area.
Local citizens who kept environmental protection in mind
Some local citizens tried to keep environmental protection in their mind. I witnessed a couple who was able to save some amount of money they had to stop the selling of wild marine life sold in the street markets. I learned that not only are marine animals currently suffering from our human environmental impact, their population numbers are also decreasing mostly due to overfishing. They told me that it was an unforgivable act but they could not do much about it because they had no money. I then told them that I would do whatever I could possible, to end these problems.
I found a little sustainable cafe run by some young Sri Lankan people with a little bit of awareness about environmental issues. They decided to use stainless straws inside of their cafe and here is an example of the drinks they offered.
Finally, I landed on a national park where it was prohibited to bring in plastic for the sake of natural protection. You had to pay a deposit to enter the park if you were carrying plastic bottles. But on your way back home, your deposit could be returned by showing that you still had the same amount of plastic bottles as when you had entered. I then realized that there were many people who were making every little bit of an effort to somehow stop the limitless environmental problems around them. However, I felt that I could not go on with just doing “a few small actions”. We need bigger and more impactful movements to truly make a difference in this world.
This is all for this post! If you didn’t read my introductory post last time, please check it out here! Next time I will continue to explain my experiences along Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Singapore and the Phillipines. Hope to see you then!