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To Save the World, Encourage Innovation and Discourage Stagnation

By: Nehemie

It is necessary to know what other people are up to if we want to have a sustainable world as a whole, not as a part. While technology brings us more closer together, it is easy to think that you are doing nothing because you know others who are doing way better. It is also possible to think you got it right while others have moved many steps ahead of you. This, depending on how you digest it, can help you think and do better or keep you in stagnant in your old, inefficient ways of doing things. Below I’ll tell you how this applies to the environment. 

For you to understand how fast the world is, as you read this post many innovations are being created and implemented while many traditions are phasing out; both in your region and elsewhere. When I shouted out  Rwanda’s recent green growth achievements, I knew other people were doing new, interesting things about climate change mitigation through protection, decarbonization, and so on. But one thing that stood out for me as we kickstart 2019 is the magnitude of efforts that the government of Turkey is putting into motion on the journey to resilience in cities

Not long ago, in October 2018, Turkey found a way to encourage waste recycling by rolling out a vending machine able to collect, shred and sort plastic bottles and aluminum cans in the exchange of free transport at the bus stations in Istanbul. Now, everyone is willing to feed their bottles and cans into the machine for them to get a free ride; an incentive that none would miss. It is genius to understand the way that this technology works and it’s role in shifting people’s action towards sustainable handling of waste materials in a fast, effective, non-forced way

But that’s not all. On the New Year’s day, the Turkish government decided to charge more money on plastic bags as a way to discourage the use of these nonbiodegradable polymers which usually take years and years to decompose, hence degrading arable soils and polluting oceans around the world. What’s more interesting is that, the majority of  buyers in the supermarkets -70%- welcomed and acted positively on the very first day by bringing their own bags or by shopping less to avoid extra costs on the bags, hence discouraging the use of plastics packages. 

Since long ago, people have thought of ways to tackle waste pollution due to tons of wastes dumped in or near public places as well as into the oceans. AS Britain led the wake of the Industrial Revolution, we will achieve clean cities and clean seas when stars like Turkey and Rwanda provide examples. But in order to diffuse technologies of plastic banning or plastic-aluminum vending machine around the world, we will need to intentionally encourage innovation while discouraging stagnation.