Tuesday, 31 January, 2023
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Monster made of plastic waste spreads awareness at Cox's Bazar

Monster made of plastic waste spreads awareness at Cox's Bazar

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The use of plastic is increasing every day in our life, but we are yet to fully aware of how it is polluting the environment and affecting lives on earth. Bidyanondo Foundation has come up with a unique way to show us how threatening plastic could be for us and a brilliant way to make us aware of using and disposing plastic properly. It has made a big monster at the Sugandha point of Cox’s Bazar beach with different kinds of plastic waste collected from Saint Martin and Cox’s Bazar. And it has also set up plastic exchange shops in Saint Martin and Cox’s Bazar beach where tourists and local people are being provided with gifts and different food items in exchange for plastic waste.  

The height of the monster is 35 feet long and 14 feet wide. It looks gigantic and it is being called the largest statute made of ocean plastic in Asia. It is not only standing on the beach with its monstrous look drawing attention of tourists and local people, but also giving a powerful message with an awful sound that ‘I am a monster, you have created me by throwing plastic everywhere. Slowly but surely, I will grasp the whole world. I will ruin environment, pollute water, and kill the biodiversity. I’m the curse created by your unaware actions’. Also there are signboards placed around the statute with different messages like ‘we all have to recycle plastic waste now and won’t let this monster grow again’.

At this time of the year, Cox’s Bazar becomes overflowing with tourists from across the country and abroad. This unique initiative by Bidyanondo Foundation and Cox’s Bazar district administration has attracted so many people’s attention on the beach. We were hanging out on the beach in the evening last week and got surprised to see the statue at Sugandha point surrounded by tourists and local people. Then the inaugural ceremony was going on where Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Shaheen Imran said, ‘the district administration along with Bidyanondo Foundation is trying to convey a message that the accumulated plastic waste and its pollution is turning into a monster day-by-day and posing a great risk for lives and the environment’. I talked to a couple of tourists on the beach about the initiative.

“Often, we see plastic waste everywhere in Cox’s Bazar beach and surrounding areas. It will help people aware against putting plastic waste here and there. Cox’s Bazar has the longest sea beach in the world, it should be clean”, said Mohammed Rabbi Sheikh, a tourist from Dhaka.

“In Cox’s Bazar, roads and footpaths have been recently renovated a lot and it looks good, but the beach and its surrounding areas are not clean.  We have to be aware about putting plastic and other waste here and there” said Tareq Mahmud, a local youth from Cox’s Bazar.

According to the UN Environment Programme, we produce about 400 million tonnes of plastic waste every year now. It is one of the main drivers of climate change and threatening us in many ways – from rivers to ocean to land to biodiversity. Because of its widespread impacts, sometimes it is regarded as slow weapons of mass destruction. Also the disgraceful thing that we often see is children are engaged in collecting plastic waste, promoting child labour and affecting children’s education and development. Perhaps it is impossible to avoid the use of plastic nowadays but what is needed is public awareness about dumping plastic everywhere and proper plastic waste management systems.

Roads and footpaths in Cox’s Bazar have been reconstructed and renovated recently, but what is needed most is public awareness to keep the beach clean and to save environment. This outstanding initiative has been appreciated by many and the monster will remain there for some weeks. Let’s now grow the simple civic sense and avoid throwing plastics like chips packets, water bottles, bags, and many other single use plastics everywhere. Let’s take the threats of plastics seriously and help each other to be aware of dumping plastic in the right place.

 

Parvez Uddin Chowdhury, a development

worker based in Cox’s Bazar