Environmental protection begins at home, Kazakh eco-activists say
Today is the World Environment Day. Since 1974, it has been celebrated every year on June 5. The World Environment Day (WED) was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 on the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Two years later, in 1974 the WED was celebrated for the first time under the slogan ‘Only One Earth’. Since then, experts in various fields have begun to actively study the impact of humanity on the environment. The number of environmentalists in Kazakhstan is growing day by day. They urge the Kazakh residents to sort and recycle solid waste. Ayagul Ramazan is one of them. She said that the environmental protection should not be the responsibility of the government or eco-businesses only. We should start with ourselves. We need to take care of the place where we live in. People can start with simple things, for example, to throw out the garbage the right way.
“One plastic bag decomposes on Earth during 500 years. This is a terrible enemy of nature and a great environmental threat. One family alone throws away from five to 10 plastic bags per day. Polyethylene is also a very harmful material. When exposed to hot steam, it releases toxic substances. Even if you don’t take care of nature, it directly affects human health. It affects your health,” said Ramazan.
According to statistics, one person produces up to 1.5 kilograms of garbage per day. Garbage cans are often overfull. People neglect separating the trash. Residents throw out even broken furniture next to garbage cans. Meanwhile, Ramazan said that first of all people must learn the waste sorting. She writes various publications on social media on this topic urging her followers to show responsibility and a little sympathy for nature. Being a blogger, Ramazan gives advice on how to do this beneficially for yourself.
“In developed countries, garbage collection and its transfer to special organizations begin at school. That is why I dream that this culture and such attitude formed in every family. My children do not want to throw plastic cans in a bin. Both of my children are accustomed to this. When they have a free time, we wash those plastic cans, collect them in accordance with the markings and send them to special places. There are not many such places in the country though, but it is good that there are some. Just few people know about them. Many people ask for details in the comments section of my social media page. This way I share with my followers the tips on how they can reduce their expenses by taking care of the environment,” said Ramazan.
The younger generation already understands what ecology is and how important it is to take care of your home – the Earth. School students even contribute to solving this pressing problem. A student of the Nazarbayev Intellectual School Amina Kabdrakhim invented an alternative to plastic. As part of her project, she studied the ways how to grow chlorella and get a biopolymer from it. Various reagents and experimental methods were used to determine its properties. As a result, Kabdrakhim found alternative solutions for the production of degradable polymers.
“Plastic production clogs the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. Many environmental problems can be solved by replacing it with bioplastics. It is known that bioplastics from fresh starch, lipids and proteins rapidly decompose. Bioplastics made from chlorella are notable for their low price and environmental efficiency,” said Kabdrakhim.
Attracting the young people to the environmental literacy is one of the largest projects implemented in Kazakhstan.
“We have worked hard with the UN Development Program, the International Green Technologies and Investment Projects Center, as well as Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science, and Kazakh Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources. As a result of our work, special programs were introduced in 17 educational institutions of the country. The goal of the programs is to explain the negative impact of humanity on the environment, as well as to instill an environmental culture,” said Daulet Abulkhairov, Deputy Chairperson of the International Green Technologies and Investment Center.
Environmental protection is a matter of national importance. Such message was posted by President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on his Twitter account.
“Today is the World Environment Day. This year it is dedicated to the topic of biodiversity conservation. In Kazakhstan, dozens of species of animals, birds, fish and plants are at risk of extinction. The protection of nature is a matter of national importance,” President Tokayev tweeted.
Environmentalists are sure that when the planet’s resources are depleted, nature will not be able to recover on its own. They warn that the modern society borrows the Earth’s resources from the future generations. That is why it is now extremely important to shape the notions of “environmental responsibility” and “ecological sin”. If people understand these simple things and develop good habits, there is hope that the situation will change.