IMAGINE a crow flying high and low in search of food to feed her chicks. She spots pieces of plastic bags scattered along the highway and knows there would be food inside them. She thinks she has hit jackpot because there is enough rubbish around and would feed her family for weeks.
She pecks at the rubbish and takes some, with the plastic bits sticking to them, back to her nest where she feeds her chicks.
One would think that with lots of food available to feed them and herself, there would be a happy ending to this story.
But sadly, all her chicks die a week later and she herself is barely able to move. Eventually, she succumbs and falls dead on the roadside.
What happened to the crow and her chicks? They were overcome by plastic intoxication from all the waste they had eaten. This sad ending is a reality not only for crows but also for many animals both on land and in the sea that are impacted by our harmful waste products.
During the recent Hari Raya celebrations, I received a picture from a member of my environmental activist group showing trash strewn along the highway from Kelantan to Kuala Lumpur. Looking at it, I felt the need to share the story of the crow to explain the destructive effects of our throwaway culture.
It saddens me to think that our hopeful and optimistic efforts at preserving the environment are being completely forgotten during the rush to get home and while celebrating Hari Raya with open houses. I understand that feeding many people is difficult as you need to think of the logistics, budget and hygiene. But it terrifies me that people in our society do not feel responsible for the thrash they generate. This is evident in the picture shared here, which was taken by one of the members the group.
It might be a nuisance to hold on to your rubbish before disposing of it in a bin at a rest area another 200km down the highway, but before you throw it out of the window, remember the crow and her family that died due to our negligence.
So what can we do to prevent the same tragic ending of the crow and her family from happening to our other animals? We must take responsibility for the trash we generate. I understand that going completely zero with waste is quite impossible, but we can at least dispose of it properly.
We must change our attitude towards the trash we generate. Proper disposal of trash could have saved the crow and her family.
I, for one, would not want to live in a world without crows, dogs, deer and other animals.
IMAN QHADIJAH SHAHRUL NIZAM
UiTM Shah Alam