Gardening should be plastic-free plus zero waste

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Earthen flowers pots used for gardening. Photo: Courtesy

Arindam Bala:

The world human population is projected to reach 8.5 billion in 2030, and to increase further to 9.7 billion in 2050. Currently half of the world’s population live in cities. By 2050, about 70 percent will live in urban areas. People are persuading behind modern life thus welcoming concrete. The urbanization is sprawling greater than previous consequently the superfluity of greenery is becoming sharply paucity. We are adding 40 billion metric tons of CO2 pollution to the atmosphere per year. Carbon dioxide is a key driver of climate change. In the urban areas, the number of open water bodies and trees is reducing alarmingly, vehicles are emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the heat of glass of the building is fueling temperature consequently cities are becoming less comfortable livable places for the human beings.

However, many environment lovers, as well as fashion icon persons, are shifting towards gardening, for instance-rooftop, homestead, vertical, containers, and verandah in the urban area. Gardening is becoming popular over the world and even in Bangladesh. It is the biggest pleasure that the cities are turning into greenery instead of vanishing from our sight. Here, on one hand, the cities are greening. On the other hand, plastic-made equipment is being used rampantly in gardening.

Gardening, Earth-Friendly activities, is increasing in the concrete area, and during the pandemic, it has become more noticeable. Some smart gardeners are picking up desired vegetables, fruits whatever is growing in the garden. These modern fruits and vegetables are being grown as organic products. But plastic-free plus zero-waste gardening is essential over the world for preventing environmental pollution and reducing climate crisis.

Md. Mamunur Rashid, resident of Khadim Para, Sylhet Sadar, Sylhet, created roof-top garden without using any plastic. Photo: Courtesy

No doubt that we who are fond of gardening are environment lovers and we do love nature, but we are in absent mind-destroying our surrounding environment and even forcing to peril. The world is drowning in plastic. Plastic is the world’s worst environmental problem. It is being widely used all over the place like in markets, shopping malls, food supply, and gardens. But could we realize plastic is trashing our environment? The river bed and the landfill are piling up with single-use polythene. The humble of plastic materials has become public enemy number one an unnecessary evil that must be stopped. A large quantity of fossil fuel is used in the production of plastic; it generally takes almost 500 years to decompose. Just 10%-15% of single-use plastic is recycled globally each year. By 2050 plastic is expected to account for 5%-10% of greenhouse emissions.

The environment-friendly people are well familiar with the deadly impacts of plastic pollution. Plastic flowerpots are being rampant produced and that is used in gardening in cities, and even eye-catching pots are advertised from different platforms for increasing sale and making more profit but we have to understand that pollution-free environment is extremely needed for better tomorrow. In terms of remaining a pollution-free environment for present and future generations, the polluters have to be refused, reduced, and reused.

Eye-catching pots but not environment-friendly gardens. Photo: Courtesy

Some gardeners are offering biodegradable containers for seedling and other activities in gardening. We can be campaigners to exterminate plastic from own garden as it is depending on ourselves suppose when we move to kitchen market or any grocery shops without any handbag then we are compelled to take polythene bag from the vendors in pouring purchased vegetables or any commodities. But in the term of gardening, it is individual choice and hobby; there are no any providers who can us induce to use plastic. It is pleasure that many platforms like online-based sellers and Facebook groups are encouraging people for zero waste gardening over the country.

I was talking with Mujibur Rahaman, 29-year-old, proprietor of Orchid Nursery. He possesses this nursery for 6 years at Majortila, Kahdim Para, Sylhet. There are almost 60,000 different species of saplings like orchids, domestic and foreign in the nursery. Especially flowers are higher than others as they are much desired for all customers. He said as I possess a nursery where produce enormous different specie plants contributing in greening up in urban as well as the rural area over the country. As an environment lover, I am keen in not using plastic items (recycled or non-recycled) in gardening. But we are obliged to use them because of buyer demand. The plastic pots are eye-catching, available, less weight, easy to hang, cheap than clay pots and available in size. Here, another important point is that it is easy to send towards the different corners of the country through courier service and sending cost is not like clay made pots because of less weight and risk-free of broken. I sell an average of 6000-7000 plastic flowers pots each year while clay pots only 1000 pieces. I am also against using plastic as flowerpots, fruit pots, and vegetable pots, but it is quite difficult to draw the attention of customers said, Mujibur Rahaman. He has determined if he gets an alternative instead of plastic, will not definitely use plastic in my nursery.

Basically, if we (gardeners) do not purchase any plastic pots or any plastic items with flowers or orchids the number of plastic items will not jump in our garden resulting garden would be plastic-free plus zero waste. Though plastic-free gardening may be cost-effective as well as energy consumption, the final product must well worth and environment friendly.

Everybody should be keen to keep up with the plastic-free lifestyle and avoid using plastic in the garden by turning to biodegradable materials like wood, paper, bamboo, clay, glass, metal and Wooden Seed Trays that can reduce the environmental cost of gardening and sometimes it is better for plants, too. And food storage containers could be brilliant growing pots on top floor of the building.

Finally, eco-friendly gardening encourages the absorption of carbon dioxide by soil and plant. Earthen pots should be first priority as they are ecologically sound because it is made from natural materials. They provide the perfect environment for plants, as the porosity of clay allows air and moisture to access the roots, allowing them to breathe. Air movement stimulates the root which results in healthier and strong plants that are not possible from plastic pots. Everybody should be anti-plastic. Life without plastic is seen in many areas why we are not.

The writer is an environmental activist and development worker. He can be reached at Email: arindam1985.ju@gmail.com