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The Effects of E-Waste on the Environment and Human Health

This article first appeared on Unsustainable Magazine on 14 December 2019

Modern broken mobile phone on wooden background.

Who isn’t attracted to the latest mobile device or laptop? If we could afford it, we would be changing our digital gadgets every time a new one pops up in the market. But why does throwing away your computer bring so much harm to the environment?

The world has produced at least 50 million tons of e-waste in 2018 alone i

Your computer or any digital or electronic device is part of E-waste, also known as Electronic Waste, which consists of damaged or outdated electronic devices, products, materials and spare parts. As we all know, makers of digital devices strive to improve and update their creations rapidly so these products can be launched earlier in order to gain and retain an even bigger share of the consumer market.

As gadgets get more sophisticated, older inventions are discarded for newer and more appealing ones. Remember when people would not hesitate to queue overnight so that they could be the first to possess the latest iPhone? No doubt, there is a certain fascination with being “the first” to own the latest gadget, not to mention, the bragging rights that come with it.

However, because of our desire to acquire the “spanking new” digital device, we would need to get rid of our older and less refined gadgets. Some people would sell their old devices to second-hand dealers or donate them to needy families but many would prefer to just dump them into the trash. This is why E-waste is increasing every year.

This could also be due to the fact that manufacturers have made the devices last for a shorter period of time as they want consumers to come back and buy more of their products regularly. This, of course, increases their profits but it also contributes to more gadgets being thrown into landfills.

Usually, people would not consider repairing their computers or mobile devices if they were defective. They would just go out and buy a new one. Furthermore, they may not think it is worth the money or time required to get them repaired. Can you imagine being unable to use your computer as it is at the repair shop? And depending on circumstances, you may have to wait from a few days to a week just to get it fixed.

If you are thinking about recycling it, this may not sit well with some people as they fear that their personal data may be retrieved by the new owners, in spite of having done a “factory reset” to wipe out all existing information. A digital gadget, especially a mobile phone, is a very personal item and people would rather throw it away than pass it on to others to use.

E-waste contains toxic chemical elements like lithium, mercury, lead, etc. which can leak into the environment ii

As such, the disposal process of E-waste should not mean sending it to landfills. And this is why there are businesses which specialize in the safe removal and recycling of E-waste.

In an article by V. Ranganathan entitled “Health hazards caused by unorganised e-waste disposal”, it was stated that E-waste has the following harmful effects on humans: iii

  • Reproductive issues
  • Developmental problems
  • Damage to the immune system
  • Interference with regulatory hormones
  • Damage to the nervous system
  • Kidney damage
  • Hampers brain development in children
  • May lead to lung cancer
  • Chronic beryllium disease
  • Skin ailments
  • Cadmium accumulations on liver and kidney
  • Asthmatic bronchitis
  • DNA damage
  • Muscle weakness
  • Endocrine system disruption
  • In addition, “researchers have now linked e-waste to adverse effects on human health, such as inflammation and oxidative stress – precursors to cardiovascular disease, DNA damage and possibly cancer” and “due to the crude recycling process, many pollutants, such as persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals, are released from e-waste, which can easily accumulate in the human body through the inhalation of contaminated air.” iv

E-waste is shipped to third-world countries

This usually happens when “many of these out-of-date electrical and electronic devices still have commercial value because they still work or contain expensive materials that can be recycled.” v

“Although it is legal to export discarded goods to poor countries if they can be reused or refurbished, much is being sent to Africa or Asia under false pretences” and “a substantial proportion of e-waste exports go to countries outside Europe, including West African countries. Treatment in these countries usually occurs in the informal sector, causing significant environmental pollution and health risks for local populations.” vi

This practice has only made third-world countries a popular dumping ground for old digital gadgets. And by throwing such devices indiscriminately, it has also created a shortage for rare-earth minerals which are required in the manufacture of such appliances.

Last word: Recycling old digital products is a practice not many people are willing to commit to. Hopefully, more people could be persuaded to recycle as a means to saving the Earth.

i Why E-Waste is so Dangerous and How the ‘Right to Repair’ Will Save the Environment by Citizen Truth, 4 November 2018

ii Why E-Waste is so Dangerous and How the ‘Right to Repair’ Will Save the Environment by Citizen Truth, 4 November 2018

iii Health hazards caused by unorganised e-waste disposal by V. Ranganathan for yourstory.com, 28 June 2018

iv ‘E-waste pollution’ threat to human health by IOP Institute of Physics, 31 May 2011

v E-waste and the infrastructures of digitalization by Diggit Magazine (undated)

vi Toxic E-Waste Dumped in Poor Nations, Says United Nations by John Vidal for The Guardian and United Nations University, 16 December 2013

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Three Things Koala Bears have In Common With Humans

We’ve always known Koala Bears to be cute and cuddly creatures which would never hurt a fly. And they are one of the most well-known iconic symbols of Australia. So what could these cute Koalas have in common with humans?

Photo by Cassie Lafferty on Unsplash

1.            Some of the Medical Ailments that Affect Humans Also Affect Koalas

Photo by Online Marketing on Unsplash

Chlamydia, Conjunctivitis, Urinary Tract Infection and Infertility

It is no secret that many Koalas suffer from Chlamydia. Since 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorized the Koala Bears as a “vulnerable” species. From every 1,000 Koalas that are transported yearly to New South Wales and Queensland animal hospitals, 40% have untreatable Chlamydia as the disease is deemed “late-stage” and therefore, the animals cannot be saved.

As a result of Chlamydia, the Koalas also suffer from Conjunctivitis and Urinary Tract Infection. Needless to say, some Koalas ultimately become blind. In addition to the fact that some female Koalas may also become infertile, it is not hard to understand why we must step in to try to save these defenseless creatures.

Some have theorized that the Koalas could have become infected with Chlamydia from livestock, sheep in particular. Now, before anyone of you starts getting any funny ideas, let me explain. What the experts are saying is that the food source of the Koalas may have been tainted via faecal droppings from the sheep. In case anyone is wondering, the strain of Chlamydia that affects humans is not the same type as that affecting the Koalas but it is transmitted in the same way, that is, via sexual intercourse.

2.            Albinism

The National Organization for Albinism and Hypo-pigmentation states that “Albinism is an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and/or eyes. Albinism occurs in all racial and ethnic groups throughout the world. In the U.S., approximately one in 18,000 to 20,000 people has some type of albinism. In other parts of the world, the occurrence can be as high as one in 3,000. Most children with albinism are born to parents who have normal hair and eye colour for their ethnic backgrounds.”

Humans with Albinism may feel that this is a social stigma as some people may shun them because of a lack of understanding of the condition.

Although rare, albinism is also present in Koalas. One such documented case was reported when a zoo keeper at the San Diego Zoo in the United States of America discovered a baby Albino Koala Bear in the pouch of its mother on 21 September 1985. Unfortunately, the baby Koala named Goolara, died of cancer in 1992.

Very little is known about Albinism in Koalas so perhaps more research could be done in this field.

3.            Fingerprints

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Koala fingerprints are no different from human fingerprints. In fact, it is almost impossible to tell human fingerprints from Koala ones. Even a fingerprint expert cannot tell the difference! Some experts have theorized that since Koalas climb trees to look for food, fingerprints could have developed as a result of this.

Nonetheless, isn’t it thought provoking to know that a Koala Bear has identical fingerprints to Humans?

Last word: Mother Nature never ceases to amaze us with her fantastic and awe-inspiring creatures.

Sources

Here’s Everything We Know About Koalas And Their Big Chlamydia Problem by Elfy Scott, July 11, 2018

National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (undated)

Goolara, Zoo’s Rare Albino Koala, Dies of Cancer : Animals: Cuddly 7-year-old marsupial was a favorite with staff and visitors and even charmed Johnny Carson by Nora Zamichow, 7 Sept 1992

Koalas have exactly the same fingerprints as humans by Alasdair Wilkins, 4 May 2001

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7 Things You Can Do to Stop Yourself from Going Crazy After Retirement

Have you ever been so bored from not having anything to do that you wanted to pull your hair out? Well, here are 7 things that you can do to help you stay balanced and rational.

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

1.         Do a MOOC and get certified for it

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2001. MOOCs are online courses which are open to anyone who is interested in learning a particular subject. The strength of the MOOCs lies in their ability to harness the thoughts, opinions and co-operation of a community of students, teachers, researchers, etc. This is a platform that allows anyone to communicate and get ideas about a common topic since likeminded people would be in this online community.

Almost anyone can do a MOOC and some of these courses even offer a Certificate upon completion. Not all MOOCs are free and some do require a small payment. According to www.classcentral.com, there were 101 million enrolled students in more than 900 universities across the world studying more than 11,000 MOOCs in the year 2018.

The main advantage of doing a MOOC is that you can study anytime and anywhere. You don’t have to wake up at a certain time to go to class. Just switch on your computer and log-in and you can begin your studies. How’s that for attending classes in your pyjamas!

Spend some time learning about MOOCs and what courses are available online. If you are doing a free MOOC, this doesn’t require a financial investment on your part. Only your time and energy are required. And I can tell you from experience that the sense of fulfilment that you will feel when you complete the course is indescribable and priceless.

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

2.         Travel vs Virtual Travel

Text Box: Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

Travelling is one of the best ways to pass the time, make more friends and improve your knowledge of other cultures. Even if you don’t like to step out of the house, you can still do Virtual Travel.

What do I mean? Well, let’s say you’ve always wanted to go to the Swiss Alps but the trip is too demanding on your health. Do you know that you can go there while still in the comfort and security of your home by using the Internet? You can access and watch millions of videos made by people who have actually travelled there and you can see what they see and hear what they hear. Although you won’t be able to breathe in the fresh Swiss air, this is as close as you can get. Furthermore, you’d save a bundle in travelling costs and insurance.

However, if you are one of those outdoorsy-type and would really like to go on a trip to a foreign place, please do so. After all, you only live once so make the best of it.

Photo by caterina sanders on Unsplash

3.         Volunteer Internationally

This is not about volunteering at the local Food Bank or other local places which could use your help. I’m referring to volunteering internationally. For example, have you heard about volunteering to care for elephants in elephant sanctuaries in Thailand?

Here are 3 respectable elephant sanctuaries in Thailand where you can volunteer to bathe and feed the gentle giants and also have plenty of time to interact with them.

(i)  Elephant Nature Park

This rescue and rehabilitation center houses elephants which were rescued from inhumane living conditions. Click here to find out more on how you can volunteer to help these magnificent creatures.

(ii)  Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary

This elephant reservation not only houses rescued elephants but also provides safe accommodation for retired elephants as well. Click here to learn more.

(iii)  Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

As the name suggests, this Foundation caters to all wildlife including elephants. Click here to see the scope of work that the Foundation does to help all animals big and small.

4.         De-clutter your Home

How many times have you told yourself to clear out that mess that’s being lying around? Please sit down and think “Do we really need all this stuff?” One good thing about de-cluttering is that you can donate your unwanted stuff like old garments and furniture to charity.

De-cluttering also lightens your emotional baggage. By removing unwanted items, you are not only keeping your house clean but you are also clearing any undesirable and surplus psychological weight from your psyche.

Photo by ipet photo on Unsplash

5.         Keep a Pet

If you’re someone who always wanted a pet but did not end up having one due to work and family commitments, well, now’s the time to get a pet.

For example, if you intend to get a dog, please do your research and find out what type of dog would suit your temperament and household. Also, who else would be sharing space in your home with the dog? Is everyone at home a senior too? Also, do consider adopting from the Pound as many puppies and dogs are always looking for their forever homes.

Being responsible for an animal creates a driving force in you that forces you to wake up every morning so that you can tend to this living thing which is dependent on you. It gives you a sense of responsibility and self-worth which is necessary for all of us to function.

Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

6.         Concentrate on Your Health

It is not unusual that many of us have ignored our health in the course of working and building a career. How many times have you wanted to go to the gym but was just too tired after work?

Well, the good news is now you have all the time in the world. For example, you can choose to lose weight by reducing that tummy of yours. Read and learn about exercises that target the stomach. There are numerous videos on YouTube which you can refer to for a start and they are all free. You can even borrow books on exercises from the local library.

You don’t have to join a gym, you can start at home. Exercise at your own pace and make sure you do it regularly. Don’t push yourself too hard as you wouldn’t want to burn yourself out before you’ve gained any momentum.

A low impact exercise which many seniors like to do is cycling. If you can afford it, do buy a Stationary Exercise Bike and place it at home. That way, you can still cycle come rain or shine. Keep a log book to record the time and distance you’ve covered as this would encourage you to cycle more. Look back how much your stamina has improved since the day you started. And you will stay motivated to exercise.

7.         Connect with Family and Friends

Now that you have more time, do spend it with family and friends. Get to know what’s happening in their lives and be involved with what they do. Offer to run some errands for them like buying groceries if they are too busy to do it. Ask them how you can help and what you can do for them to make life a little easier.

Now with applications like WhatsApp and Skype, you can communicate easily with loved ones even though they are miles away and you don’t have to wait to see them only on special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas. All you have to do is to start a video call and you can see their faces immediately.

And if you happen to be travelling, you can also send them photos or videos on the spot showing them what you are doing now. Make technology work for you instead of keeping those photos and videos and showing them off only after you have come back from your trip.

Last word: You can still enjoy a wonderful and productive life after retirement. Please do not let boredom and aimlessness set in. Plan everyday as though it were your last and conquer everything that you set out to do.

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Using Recycled Paper Is Not Just About Saving Trees

This was published in Unsustainable Magazine on 21 August 2019 and is the 3rd article by Ana Yong.

Recycled paper has been around for a long time but not everyone is using it. Whether because it is perceived to be more expensive or hard to find, not many people have a liking for using recycled paper. Take, for example, the fact that magazine publishers prefer virgin paper to the recycled kind because the latter is perceived to be of an inferior type not suitable for publishing. But I am glad to say that this is changing as a large and famous magazine publisher that is National Geographic is beginning to use recycled paper for some of its magazine pages. i

Here are some facts which show without a doubt why and how using recycled paper can save the Earth.

1. 14% of all global wood harvest is used to make paper ii

Photo by Khari Hayden from Pexels

As we already know, paper comes from wood which comes from trees. Consequently, deforestation is one of the biggest issues connected to using virgin paper. In addition, it takes “an average of 5 litres of water to produce one piece of A4 paper”, “50% of the waste of businesses is composed of paper”, “recycling 1 ton of paper saves around 682.5 gallons of oil, 26,500 litres of water and 17 trees”, “U.S offices use 12.1 trillion sheets of paper a year” but what we may not know is that “every tree produces enough oxygen for 3 people to breathe”. iii Just think about it, a small family of three people: father, mother and child can all survive on the oxygen generated by one tree alone. In addition, trees also absorb carbon dioxide while producing oxygen for all living things.

Of course, we all know that deforestation isn’t just about cutting down trees, it is also about damaging a whole ecosystem as “the majority of the world’s biodiversity (the huge array of insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, plants and trees) lives in, and depends on, forests”. iv

2. Waste paper rotting in landfills produces Methane gas

Image by vkingxl from Pixabay

Methane gas is 25 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide and “paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste and 33% of municipal waste”. v Furthermore, Methane gas is able to trap heat 21 times more efficiently than Carbon Dioxide and is one of the major reasons for global warming and global climate change. vi I think this reason alone is enough to warrant the use of recycled paper more extensively.

In an undated article by the Department of Health (New York State), it was stated that “Methane and Carbon Dioxide make up 90 to 98% of landfill gas. The remaining 2 to 10% include nitrogen, oxygen, ammonia, sulfides, hydrogen and various other gases”. Moreover, “though production of these gases generally reaches a peak in five to seven years, a landfill can continue to produce gases for more than 50 years”. vii

3. Dioxin is produced in the production of paper viii

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Just to be clear, Dioxin is a carcinogen and is toxic. According to the World Health Organization, in an article entitled “Dioxins and their effects on human health” dated 4 October 2016, “Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants” and “are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer”. In the same article, it was also stated that “Dioxins are mainly by-products of industrial processes but can also result from natural processes, such as volcanic eruptions and forest fires. Dioxins are unwanted by-products of a wide range of manufacturing processes including smelting, chlorine bleaching of paper pulp and the manufacturing of some herbicides and pesticides. ix

It is so easy to buy recycled paper and yet very few people are willing to try it. Based on these facts, isn’t it time that we all switched to using recycled paper?

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3 Ways to Prepare for a Job Interview

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

At one point or another in our lives, we would all have to go through a job interview. Here are three approaches to calming your nerves before going for this important event:

1.         Wear Your Best Work Outfit

Photo by Hardini Lestari on Unsplash

Many people would tell you that if you look great, you feel great too. And this is the crux of the matter. Wearing your best work outfit gives you confidence. But if you don’t have one, go out and buy one.

Most established departmental stores would have an in-house shopper on site to recommend a suitable ensemble for you. Don’t feel shy to ask as knowledge is power and the more you find out about what type of attire suits your body shape and skin tone, the more you are able to select the right kind of clothes for yourself.

2.         Have a Good Meal

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Never go to a job interview on an empty stomach as you are already stressed and the constant grumbling stomach noises won’t help either. You owe it to yourself to eat a decent meal before facing your interviewer.

Having food in your stomach is always a beneficial thing as you can think better and are not “hangry” (hungry and angry) during the interview. You will find yourself being more cordial if you are not already. You are able to understand and process the interviewer’s questions better and faster and provide more convincing and reliable answers.

Your overall presentation (physical and psychological) will leave a better impression on the interviewer than if you went into the interview angry and disgruntled.

3.         Investigate the Company

Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

By “investigating”, I don’t mean “stalking”. You don’t need to go to view the Facebook account of the CEO to check out how many kids he has or what he does during the weekends.

What I mean, for example, is to study the background of the company, how long they have been around, what their main business is, whether they have any branches or subsidiaries and the number of people employed by them.

Most companies would publish their yearly financials and it would be good to have a look at them. If you find reading financial reports challenging, you could ask a friend to have a brief look and tell you what’s it’s all about.

The main point here is to do your background check on the company and their business plan.

Last word: Apply these three methods whenever you have a job interview and they would improve your chances of landing that job. All The Best To Your Job Interview!

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Do You Know What Happens Every Time You Use A Plastic Water Bottle?

This article appeared in Unsustainable Magazine on 5 August 2019 and is the second article by Ana Yong.

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

We live in an age of disposability and convenience. We want quick and easy access to whatever we need and we also get rid of what we don’t need as effortlessly and speedily as we obtained it. This is the case with throwaway plastic bottles. Here are some facts that everyone should know about plastic.

1. Plastic takes nearly 400 years to disintegrate (i)

This is one of the reasons why landfills are forever increasing. Using the United States as an example, shopkablo.com stated that Americans use and dispose of 50 billion plastic bottles a year which means that 100 million plastic bottles are used every day. (ii)

Photo by KasH from Pexels

Shopkablo.com also stated that “less than 9% of all plastic produced gets recycled”. Reasons range from the fact that “the containers are mixed with labelling that is of different material, and because of the varying chemical compositions of different types of plastic, recycling these materials together can become very toxic” to a lack of “recycling infrastructure” which means that it is more cost effective for businesses to generate new water bottles than to recycle old ones based on existing expertise and equipment.

2. Plastic Oceans and Seas

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

An estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic are currently floating in our seas and oceans and another 8 million tons of plastic waste are discarded into the sea every year. In addition, 100,000 sea turtles and birds are killed by plastic on a yearly basis. (iii) This could be due to the fact that they were either trapped by plastic waste floating in the water or they had swallowed indigestible plastic garbage and suffered a long and painful death.

So how does plastic garbage get into the oceans and seas? In an article by the United Nations Environment Programme, this is due to “wastes released from dumpsites near the coasts or river banks, the littering of beaches, tourism and recreational use of the coasts, fishing industry activities and ship-breaking yards.” (iv)

World Wildlife Fund mentioned that plastic litter ends up in oceans and seas “either through deliberate dumping or from run-off through drains and rivers.” Thereby, allowing unsuspecting sea animals and seabirds to “mistake litter items for prey that can lead to chocking and blocking the breathing passages and stomach.” (v)

3. Microplastics Everywhere

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels

What is Microplastic? According to the Technical University Munich, Microplastic is “any piece of plastic measuring five millimeters in size down to one micrometer, that is, one-thousandth of a millimeter.” (vi) Microplastic is the by-product from the breakdown of larger pieces of plastic like shopping bags. Humans and some marine organisms have been shown to be able to absorb microplastic particles. (vii) Therefore, if we eat a fish that has consumed microplastic bits, then we in turn would also be eating microplastic.

Rachel Adams in an article called ” Plastic in drinking water: what are the risks to human health?” dated 14 September 2017 mentioned that research done on plastic fragments “larger than 2.5 micron” which is “about ten times smaller than the cells which line the gut” may “enter the bloodstream and even cells in the body”. (viii) Right now, no one knows how microplastics will affect humans as there has not been enough research done. Another concern raised in the article is that such plastic elements “could become carriers for other toxins to enter the body” as microplastics “generally repel water and will bind with toxins that don’t dissolve”.

This certainly sounds alarming. In view of the impact that plastic has on all of us, animals and humans alike, maybe we should all take a long and hard look at how we could reuse and recycle whenever we can.

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels

i The Environmental Impact of Plastic Water Bottles and All You Need to Know by shopkablo (undated)
ii
The Environmental Impact of Plastic Water Bottles and All You Need to Know by shopkablo (undated)
iii
The Environmental Impact of Plastic Water Bottles and All You Need to Know by shopkablo (undated)
iv
Marine Litter: The Issue by United Nations Environment Programme (undated)
v
Marine Litter by World Wildlife Fund (undated)
vi
How dangerous is microplastic? by Technical University Munich, 11 January 2019
vii
How dangerous is microplastic? by Technical University Munich, 11 January 2019
viii
Plastic in drinking water: what are the risks to human health? by Rachel Adams, 14 September 2017

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The Ethics of Using Cotton by Ana Yong

This article first appeared on Unsustainable Magazine on 15 July 2019.

Source: Pexels

Why do we love our cotton tees so much? Is it because they are so affordable? And how many tee shirts do we have? More than we really need?

Mother Earth is suffering because of our love for cotton!

Here are some facts about cotton that we should all know:

Source: Pexels

1. Cotton Processing is Water-Intensive (i)

It takes 10,000 litres of water to process 1 kilogram of cotton, meaning it takes 2,500 litres of water to produce a cotton shirt that weighs only 250 grams. A pair of medium-weight jeans weighing 800 grams would require 8,000 litres to process. And how many pairs of jeans do we have? Do we need that many pairs of jeans?

Maybe, we should supply water to those countries without sanitary drinking water, like India, where more than 100 million people do not have clean drinking water at all. (ii)

Cotton requires 40,000 litres a day for cultivation per hectare and, with a 6-month life cycle, well, you can do the maths. (iii)

In another article (iv) by Yvette Hymann entitled “Material Guide: How Ethical is Cotton?”, it was mentioned that more than 20,000 litres of water are required to process 1 kilogram of cotton. But whether it is 10,000 litres or 20,000 litres, a huge amount of water is still required for this process.

2. Cotton is the “Dirtiest” Crop in the World (v)

Cotton uses 2.5% of the earth’s land area for cultivation and, as the cotton crop attracts many insects, it requires 16% of the world’s insecticides. Thus, it is deemed to be the “dirtiest” crop cultivated.

In many countries, the use of pesticides has been reduced and discouraged but has not ceased completely because spraying insecticides is still the fastest way to eradicate unwanted pests.

The Pink Bollworm is the cotton plant’s number one enemy and is also the main reason why so much insecticide is used. This was highlighted in a recent article published in The Hindu Business Line on 13 March 2019, which was entitled “Pink Bollworm is out of control in India”(vi). This has become the case because the Pink Bollworm has developed a resistance to two biotech solutions used to protect the cotton plant.

Source: Pexels

However, according to an American Pink Bollworm expert in the same article, all is not lost. He suggests that farmers try other means like shortening the cotton season and destroying crop residues, amongst others.

3. Due to Degradation in the Recycling Process, only about 30% of the Original Cotton can be Salvaged (vii)

Based on weight, 3% of the garbage in a typical waste container is from fabrics. Using “post-consumer waste” (which consists of household items, including garments which are not worn or used anymore), we can pass these items down to friends and family members or to textile banks (which is very rare). In addition, there is a huge amount of “textile waste”, which is 50% recyclable and of which 50% is re-used. (viii)

Half of “post-consumer waste” is sent to poor countries as second-hand garments, especially where 80% of the population in many African countries rely on such clothing. Key participants in the garment recycling industry include Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), profit-based retail businesses and “solid waste” dealers.

Basically, the textile pieces are sorted into wearable and non-wearable items. The wearable pieces are sent to the second-hand clothing market whereas the non-wearable items are transformed into fibres which are then turned into yarn or converted to woven, non-woven or knitted material.

Recycling also decreases the carbon footprint which makes Mother Earth a healthier place to live in.

Now, after knowing this, would you still casually buy a cotton tee shirt just because it is cheap?

(i) The Ethics of Cotton Production by Jane Turner

(ii) World Water Day: the cost of cotton in water-challenged India by Stephen Leahy from The Guardian

(iii) Why farmers are growing cotton when water is scarce? by Saumyadeb Dasgupta for thewotrblog

(iv) Material Guide: How Ethical Is Cotton? by Yvette Hymann

(v) Cotton – World’s Dirtiest Crop by srfer.com

(vi) Pink bollworm is out of control in India by KV Kurmanath for the Hindu Business Line

(vii) The Ethics of Cotton Production by Jane Turner.

(viii) Post-consumer waste recycling in Textiles by Fibre2Fashion.com.

3 Things We Shouldn’t Do at a Social Gathering

Source: Pexels

1.         Don’t Get Drunk

By all means, drink and be merry but know your limit. The safe way would be to follow a 2-drink limit. That way, it’s unlikely we would get drunk so easily. And for those who can’t drink at all, don’t be forced to drink as the outcome may have far reaching consequences to you and your family.

2.         Don’t Be Too Quick to Give Comments

After a few drinks, we may feel more relaxed and lower our guard. We may give honest comments that come straight from the heart but think before you speak. Does the listener really want to hear what you’re going to say?

3.         Don’t Do Things on a Dare

Some people just can’t resist a dare. We all have friends who are like that. But before you throw all caution to the wind, think about whether what you’re going to do is dangerous. Some of us may have seen or heard stories of how people at parties tried to jump from the second floor balcony into the swimming pool below but ended breaking their backs.

Do stop and think before you leap or this may be your last attempt to fulfill a dare.

After all that’s been said and done, do try to enjoy yourselves at the party.

3 Things you can do when a Client doesn’t pay

Source: Pexels

Some of us would find this familiar: you submit an article but when it comes to pay time, the client mysteriously disappears. So what can you do?

1.         Tell the website to take down your article

Inform the website that has published your article to remove it as soon as possible as you have not been paid. Although this does not work all the time, it’s still worth a try.

2.         Broadcast on Social Media

Use your social media platforms to broadcast that you’ve been cheated of your payment. Name the culprit and any social media accounts related to him. You may not get your money back but it sure feels good to get even.

3.         Ask for help

Ask your friends and family what to do? Has this happened to anyone you know? What did they do? Is there an authority that you can approach for help?

If you were contacted by the client through a freelance writing website offering jobs, approach this website for help. I’m sure you’re not the first one or the last to do so.

These measures may not help you to get back your money but at least you are actively doing something. At the end of the day, you may even feel better.

3 Lessons I Learnt from Blogging

Source: Pexels

Blogging is not as easy as you would think. As much as we value freedom of speech, we should also be mindful of how our comments would be met by people who do not share our view point.

This is what I learnt from Blogging.

1          Be Politically and Culturally Correct

We all have opinions and comments about literally everything. People may not always agree with what we think but it is still our opinion. Voicing one’s thoughts online will teach one to be sensitive to the political and cultural environments. And be aware of how to convey our observations without making enemies but gain supporters instead. There is indeed a fine line between stating one’s viewpoint and being presumed rude. 

2          Able to Take Criticism

As much as we enjoy letting people know our thoughts, feelings and comments, we are also opening ourselves to other peoples’ thoughts, feelings and comments. Not everyone sees the situation in the same manner as we do and this is where disagreements arise. The listener may want to assert his/her opinion on us and how we react can make or break a friendship. At the end of the day, just remember there is no right or wrong answer, it is just an opinion.

3          Read a lot

In order to have an opinion on something, we should first know what the issue is about. Our evaluation changes the more we find out about something. Of course, the fastest and easiest way to do this is to read a lot. By listening to the different opinions of people, we learn to look at a situation from many viewpoints. We may not agree with all of them but at least we are aware of them.

I hope the above 3 lessons would make us all a better blogger. What lessons have you learnt from blogging?

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