Thursday, 30 July 2015

Plastic bag culture

It gets to me Every. Single. Time. 

I'm in queue at a bakery and the person in front of me buy 10 different buns (nothing wrong with that), which the counter staff packs into 10 separate plastic bags, then places all the 10 bags into a bigger plastic bag. Total plastic bag count: 11

Someone buys a snack from a shop that gets placed in a paper or plastic bag, which then gets placed in yet another plastic "carrier" bag. That person walks away, takes his/her snack out of the outer bag, and dumps that bag in the bin, because he/she never needed it. Ouch.

These are all absolutely necessary uses of plastic, you see. It's only something that never breaks down if dumped in a landfill, releases toxic fumes when burnt or ends up in some poor sea turtle/bird/whale's stomach if it ends up in the ocean.

Source: 9 reasons The Gambia needs to ban plastic bags

Let's take a look at how the situation can be modified slightly such that there is less use and wastage occurring.

Situation 1: You're at a nice bakery and want to buy 10 different buns. No problem. "Can you put these buns together please, and these buns together in the same bag." is what you tell the counter staff. (2-3 buns should fit nicely in a bag, they won't get squashed. I've tried this! One way to categorize could be sweet and savoury). Wham! Plastic bag count reduced from 10 to 5 (or even 3)! That's a saving of at least FIVE plastic bags. Awesome.

Situation 2: You buy a snack and it already comes in a bag. Counter staff attempts to put the snack in another plastic bag. You politely refuse, saying "No thanks, I don't need a bag" and flash a big smile (because you are helping to save the environment). Woohoo! You just halved your plastic usage right there.

And, if you are really committed, you could even bring your own bag/container! After all, since plastic is forever, all you have to do is wash it. Total plastic bag count:  ZERO.

Most people don't think to refuse a bag even if they don't need one because the practice is already ingrained in their actions. They just take what they are given. But you can change that, by refusing a useless bag yourself, and letting other people know as well. I was out with a friend once and asked her "Do you need that bag?" after she bought a food item. She said no, so I returned it to the shop. She said to me afterwards what a great practice that was and that she was going to do it from then on. Score!

If we can take baby steps, we can change our plastic bag culture from one that uses them freely to one that uses them conservatively, and eventually to one that does not use them at all. How GREAT would that be :D

Source: 9 reasons The Gambia needs to ban plastic bags

Saturday, 28 March 2015

After 1.5 years... the MDC PoolMaster Apnea Challenge

One of the things I love about freediving is the fact that I get to meet many people of interesting backgrounds... In KL for the competition this time round, I met an arborist, a nurse physician-to-be currently teaching schoolkids in the jungle somewhere in Burma, an ex-body builder/pole dancer/aerial hooper and now freediver, among many others whom I'm sure have cool stories I haven't had a chance to hear yet!

Me at the start of DYN event 

The MDC PoolMaster Apnea Challenge was my first competition after a hiatus of 1.5 years. And it was indeed a unique challenge, with all 3 pool events in one day! Congratulations to all competitors on your stellar performances and thanks to the judges and especially organizers.. Organizing a competition is not easy, let alone one that ran so smoothly! Here are the results:

Congrats to all Pool Masters! 

I didn't do quite as well as I hoped in terms of distance, but that has lead me to think about the way I've been training and I think I've identified the problem. So there's only one way to go from here... forward!

I did get a cool uw MP3 player... which is great cos the one I bought recently didn't work pretty much from day 1! "Bone conduction audio" should be interesting...  

I'm looking forward to the next competition!

Check out more photos from the MDC PoolMasters Challenge on the organizer's facebook page:

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Singapore's (and Asia's First) UWR team in the news!

And the team takes the spotlight in today's local news (TWO page coverage!) (The Straits Times, Part D, pp 6 - 7)

And here's an interview on video with Captain Khee explaining the sport: