Pollution and prominent environmental issues affect our biodiversity the most; and in New Zealand, biodiversity is central to our industries. In today’s world, our biodiversity is constantly threatened by global warming, pollution, poor waste management, and climate change.
Many of our species face threats to their survival. For instance, the Ministry for the Environment has recorded 4,000 species in Aotearoa that are on the brink of extinction. Sustainable practices, such as waste management to reverse biodiversity degradation, becomes a shared responsibility.
Let’s take a look at some of the pollution issues out there, and some daily actions you can take to help reduce them.
Environmental issues can also affect air and water quality. New Zealand experiences water and air pollution mainly due to intensified agricultural activities. While agriculture is important to the NZ economy - from farming to the transportation of goods to markets - it also produces enough nitrogen to pollute waterways. The number of cows is increasing too, and cow urine produces more nitrogen than sheep waste.
When we talk about agriculture, we mean this on a grand scale. As a consequence, our large agricultural activities can contribute to harmful gases and pollution. NZ produces only a small percentage in terms of global emissions, however, it all matters when you’re counting carbon emissions. According to the findings from the Environmental Attitudes research Ministry for the Environment, half of the surveyed population were concerned about waste impacts. More than half of the surveyed group believed that environmental protection rests on individual responsibility, and 30% suggested that government efforts are also key to environmental protection.
As Kiwis, our biodiversity is part of our heritage and identity. There are various species found only in NZ, and recovering unique species - such as the taonga whitebait and kakī - may be difficult, if not impossible. While intensified farming and greenhouse gases come largely from industrial activities, homes are also sources of harmful wastes.
Although it’s perfectly normal, even necessary at times to have heaters at home and cars for transportation, these modern utilities all contribute to pollution. Kiwis are, therefore, also responsible for reducing waste.
Simple ways that you can reduce pollution in your home can be summarized by the 3 golden R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. However, another “R” to add is “refuse plastic” as recommended by RecycleKiwi’s version.
1. Refuse or reuse plastic: If you have reusable or biodegradable options, then choose those instead. As much as you can, refrain from using single-use plastic. If you have plastic bags or cups at home, then you can also find ways to reuse them as decorations and containers.
2. Priorities: Many Kiwis aspire to reduce pollution in their household. Another way to fulfill this is by purchasing only what you truly need. Think twice, if you have to, before buying that neat-looking motorbike. Do you really need it? Perhaps you can consider borrowing one temporarily instead? Being wise in purchasing new items can make a huge contribution to reducing pollution in the home.
3. Maximize technology: Moving away from paper-based transactions lessens the clutter in your home. Having paper-based receipts and bills increases your household waste. Instead, try going paperless whenever it’s applicable, and do yourself and the environment a favor. If your power provider has an app for billing, then best switch to this paperless option. Also, instead of getting printed letters of If your online transactions, try using your bank’s online app or website instead.
4. Use the peel: When it comes to fruit and veggies, it’s only too easy to throw away the scraps. Think of all the lemon, potato, and carrot peels that get thrown away! These are not only edible but healthy too, as much as the fiber in the fruit and veg. You can try frying the potato and carrot peels, and using the lemon zest grated on cupcake toppings or to garnish other baking. It also adds a citrus-like twist in most desserts and beverages. If you have a banana peel and a houseplant, then put them together - place the banana peel on the soil, and the soil will absorb the nutrients from the banana peel. The potassium-rich banana peel acts as a simple organic fertilizer.
5. Switch to a better power company. NZ power companies make use of renewable energy for electricity. Renewable energy is a significant source in powering and lighting homes in rural and urban communities. NZ power companies, such as the likes of Electric Kiwi and Mercury Energy, promote the use of renewable energy through their power plans. Electric Kiwi features a Free Hour of Power that increases the chances of using renewable energy. Hour of Power saves energy during peak hours, decreasing the demand for national electricity and for supplementary power plants with non-renewable sources. This increases the chances for using renewable energy. Meanwhile, Mercury Energy powers establishments through hydro and geothermal energy generation.
Is your power provider using renewable energy? To what extent does their company make use of renewable energy? 100%? 85%? Glimp’s power comparison tool can help you to make a better decision! We compare different power companies on their offers, services, and power generation, so you can find the right provider for your needs.
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