As we combed through the greenery we sorted the waste into three separate bags: recyclable (hard plastics), non-recyclable (soft plastics), and coffee sachets which are later to be refashioned into stylish, eco-friendly handbags by the women’s group local to Batukaras. We had a great time and were amazed at how much waste we managed to collect in such a small area!
Thanks to all of our teamwork the area around Bale Tau is looking incredibly clean and pristine. However, making Bale Tau look super pretty was never our main goal. Instead, Operasi Semut was carried out with the intention of improving the health of our eco-system, thus creating a better, safer environment for ourselves and for the animals and insects we share it with.
Before the operation began we had Dominc on hand to explain to us why it’s so important to recycle and dispose of our plastic in the proper way. Did you know that it can take up to 1000 years for a plastic bottle to degrade? That’s a very long time. Just imagine that if you throw this non-organic waste on the ground it could be up to 1000 years before the sun shines light on the piece of earth beneath it, making it very difficult for plants to grow there. Or perhaps a small animal such as a squirrel might try to eat your candy wrapper only for him to choke and die in the same way much marine life does in our oceans.
Certainly the worst consequence of littering plastic is that when it finally does begin to degrade it releases all sorts of harmful chemicals and toxins into our earth, effectively poisoning the soil that then gets absorbed into our plants and trees, which we and other animals then consume. Not cool!
It’s great to think we’ll be able to eat the many fruits of Bale Tau knowing they’re being grown in a healthier and happier environment. Prevention, however, is always better than cure and that is why we’re always striving to live in a way that respects the philosophy of the ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ pyramid when dealing with plastic.
Thank you so much to everyone who came to help out and join the community for Operasi Semut. If you would like to conduct your own Ant Operation in your own garden or nearby woodland we would love for you to send us some photos to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can see how much waste you collect. Happy ant operating!