Anti-Single-Use Plastic: “A New Symbol of Cool”

By SAT Soviskal. UNICEF Cambodia’s Voices of Youth 2019.

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“Plastic single use straws stock photo image” by Chemist 4 U is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In Cambodia, plastic packaging has become the most common way for people. From shopping at the small store along the street to the brand shop in the supermarket, most of us bring our products back home with a few or more plastic bags each day. Only in Phnom Penh city, around 10 million plastic bags are used on the daily basis which makes it huge issue. But, wait! Do you know what will be the tragedy? When plastic consumption becomes our culture and we stop thinking about alternatives.

Realistically, plastic consumption does not need to be inevitable, it only requires the commitment from us to reduce our consumption of single-use plastic, the term refers to the plastic products which we only use once and throw away, such as plastic bags, cups, bottles, etc.

Initially, holding less plastic is the most feasible way for us. Actually, from my experience abroad and those that have received an education, anti-plastic practice is a mature gesture. Although for many people, it might mean nothing to them, but it is meaningful for those who are aware of this global issue. Hence, it is better to start changing our habits to accept less single-use plastic products from the seller and start holding our own bag and bottle. You might feel inconvenient at first, but it is just temporary. In a moment, it will become your habit and you will notice the importance of doing such a thing.

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“Picture of a plastic cup packaged by a plastic bag has the same size to a stainless steel bottle”, by SAT Sokvisal.

Being an environmentally friendly person is beyond looking cool. You will also become a change maker in your community. Although you might feel like the only one now, you’re part of a global movement. You’re at least a part of a solution, not the problem. Your mature gesture will become an effective message for the people around you and especially the younger generation. Naturally, when the older generation leave, the younger will stay. Hence, we need to be the role models and teach each other how single-use plastic is harmful for our future because we can save a few from being a part of this problem. It might look normal, but it’s priceless.

Being a change maker might look different somehow, but you are being admired from another part of the globe because your action has so much value as a citizen in the modern world. Let your passion to make this country clean lead the way. Hopefully, one day, Cambodia can be proud of their plastic-waste free country.

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