A Straw Vote for the Environment

LOLITA HAS BEEN MY SOULMATE FOR 58 YEARS AND COUNTING – she’s pictured alongside me in January 2014 at a reception  held in Calcutta’s Raj Bhavan by the Governor of West Bengal. Since then she has become more and more involved in environmental issues, and just this month on the 10th she e-mailed her friends and family members concerning a matter close to her heart as follows:

Hello everyone!
If we each do something, however small, to help the environment perhaps we’ll collectively make some difference. Personally, it really bothers me to read about all the plastic junk washing up on beaches (and also being ingested by fish and other sea life.)

I know we are all well aware of the need to recycle but I want to ask you to do two very do-able things: first, the “NO Straws” request. Please tell your server next time you go to a restaurant — “no straws please!” (If you really want a straw there are a lot of biodegradable paper straws available on the market for you to carry with you.)
And second, please remember to take your canvas or cloth bags when you go grocery shopping. You’ll set a good example and do your little bit to help the environment.

Please remind your friends and family members to do the same thing. Thanks!
Lolita Mayadas

I’ve added alongside a picture from the ocean cleanup plastic ghost net group to show starkly how much plastic gunk eventually ends up in our oceans. Closer home, Miami Beach has recently banned plastic straws from use in its sea-view restaurants as its pristine beaches are – as I write – being assailed by mindless litterers of plastic straws, which are washed away into the sea.

The overwhelming response to Lolita’s plea has been gratifying and perhaps the use of social media by me now will help as a follow-up and spread the word worldwide.

Let’s hope so before it’s too late in halting the assault on our environment.

Our 2014 visit to a city, which was our home for so many years before our departure for the USA, was an eye-opener, because so little had changed in terms of the unseemly piles of garbage spewing on to the streets downtown. Just the other day in August, India’s Prime Minister in a speech in Kolkata drew attention to the plastic rubbish everywhere that required everyone – the state government agencies and the citizenry – to take civic and personal action to quell the seemingly unstoppable tide of plastic pollution.