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Mamallapuram is a town on a strip of land between the Bay of Bengal and the Great Salt Lake in Tamil Nadu shot to fame with the summit between Modi and Jinping on October 11-12. It is known for its temples and monuments built by the Pallava dynasty in the 7th and 8th centuries. Its scenic and beautiful beach has captivated Modi very much.
Sadly, what greeted him on Saturday morning on the beach outside the Taj Fisherman’s Cove Resort and Spa where Modi did his plogging (picking waste while jogging) was plastic wastes. The beach had so much plastic wastes including plastic bottles literally littered. Walking bare foot along the sea shore, Modi collected all those plastic wastes for disposal. Later, on Twitter, he released a three-minute video, which showed him collecting the waste as he walked barefoot on the sand; and urged the people to ensure that public places are clean and tidy.
This act of Modi has indeed given a fillip to the efforts of a plastic-free environment across India in particular and the world in general. Up to 80% of all litter in our ocean is made of plastic. At the rate at which we are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags, cups, and straws after a single use, by 2050, we will have more plastic in the oceans than fish.
Plastics comprise 90% of all marine debris, with single-use food and beverage containers being one of the most common items found in studies. Plastic debris in the ocean varies greatly in size, from tiny micro plastics that are invisible to the naked eye to large pieces of plastic debris, such as discarded fishing gear, which can extend for meters or in some cases even kilometres.
Plastics are photodegradable –meaning that they break up into smaller and smaller pieces when exposed to sunlight. Because the temperature they are exposed to in the ocean is much lower than that on land, the breakdown process takes much longer in the marine environment. But while plastic debris is slowly breaking up in the ocean, more and more plastic is being tossed or washed into the sea at a rate far faster than what is breaking up.
Consequently, there is a lot of plastic in the ocean-it comes in all shapes, forms, and sizes, and is found floating on the surface, suspended in the water column or littering the ocean floor, and eventually washes up on beaches around the world, wreaking havoc with marine life in all these ecosystems.
We humans are yet to wake up to the most hazardous effects of plastic littered in the sea, and the timely act of our Prime Minister on the Mamallapuram beach in picking up plastic wastes is a right step towards a plastic-free world. It has indeed highlighted the need of our involvement too in making our environment plastic-free.
Messiah of peace
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has received the Nobel Peace Prize this time and a look into his work and the efforts taken truly speak out that the young leader definitely deserves the prize and the recognition. Ahmed was chosen for his excellent role in helping restart peace talks with neighboring Eritrea after years of conflict. Ahmed’s government also helped normalize diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Djibouti following many years of political hostility. Ahmed also mediated conflicts between Kenya and Somalia over a continuing dispute about rights to a marine area and also played a key role in getting the Sudanese military regime and opposition to negotiate an agreement following major protests. Under his leadership Ethiopia has grown into one of the fastest growing economy in Africa.
It has to be noted that economic growth happens only when there is peace and stability in a nation and the region and in that matter Abiy has turned out to be a messiah who not only put an end to the conflicts between his nation and Eritrea but also brought in an air of democracy in his country. He beautifully spread the message of, “building bridges rather than walls.” A past history of Ethiopia picturises the nation blazing with ethnic tensions with an estimated 3 million Ethiopians internally displaced. That grim picture was lovingly changed into a charming one with Abiy’s strokes of love, peace and compassion. He also took immense efforts to enhance industrial activity, paved way for investments in infrastructure and manufacturing thereby proving that he is a leader to stay and one who will be admired and adored by the world .His efforts truly deserve recognition and this in fact will be a good lesson for other leaders and nations to study and follow.
Reliving the Tagore years
The Shillong Times certainly deserves countless accolades and congratulations from Tagore lovers across the globe for gifting such a laudable photo finish of an enacted scene of ‘Tagore’s family’ as seen in today’s e-edition, which might have actually happened on 11 October, a century ago. I believe that this eventful photo would be preserved by thousands of your esteemed readers all over the world.
Arun Kumar Baksi,