You would probably be surprised to learn that most tea bags contain up to 25% plastics. The main reason for this is that in order for the tea bags to seal up and keep their shape in hot liquid, a plastic polymer, namely polypropylene, must be added. This is usually so that the tea bag is held in a shape, which producers claim helps the tea leaves infuse better. Even though the amounts of plastic found in tea bags is minimal and vary between manufacturers it adds up to quite a bit when you look at the big picture.
Due to the plastic content, conventional tea bags cannot completely decompose. This makes them a bad option for compost material and the environment… not to mention your body.
Recent research from McGill University in Canada also found that most types of tea bags leak millions of plastic particles into our drinks not only from the sealing plastic but from the bag itself. Microplastics have widely been found in the environment, in tap and bottled waters, and in some foods. A new study has found that a single plastic teabag steeped at a brewing temperature of 95 degrees Celsius releases around 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup
Most tea bags are made of thin and permeable papers and are not biodegradable. They contain harmful chemicals. The package and material can pollute the environment significantly.
However, it is not all doom and gloom with teabags.
There are few ways to recycle tea bags, including re-soaking used tea bags. This tea-enhanced water actually provides some nutrients if you use it to water your plants. You can also break open the bag and sprinkle the wet leaves around potted plants for a similar effect.
Used tea bags can also be a great way to keep your glass and mirrors clean. Simply wipe the mirror or glass pane with a moist, used tea bag and dry with a soft cloth.
Leftover tea can even refresh your skin. Add a few used tea bags to a bowl of hot water and hold your head above the steam to moisturize your face. The same idea can be used to calm tired feet, too. Simply add the used tea bags and warm water to a soaking basin, immerse your feet, and relax.
Sanitation and hygiene are critical to health, survival and development.
Many countries are challenged in providing adequate sanitation for their entire populations, leaving people at risk for water.
Throughout the world, an estimated 2.4 billion people lack basic sanitation (more than 32% of the world’s population).
Basic sanitation is described as having access to facilities for the safe disposal of human waste (feces and urine), as well as having the ability to maintain hygienic conditions, industrial or hazardous waste management, and wastewater treatment and disposal.
The importance of sanitation and good hygiene cannot be overemphasized.
A healthy environment helps protect women and children from communicable diseases.
Around the world, over 800 children under age five die everyday from preventable diseases; diarrhea related diseases caused by lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene.
This can be combated through a healthy lifestyle and habitual sanitation.
Human activity causes environmental degradation, which is deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; extinction of wildlife; and pollution.
The environment has an effect on people’s behavior and motivation to act.
When an environment is clean and neatly arranged, it influences the mood of people; for example: a well decorated room can bring about comfort and a relaxed state of mind. Interestingly, a bright room with so much lights, whether artificial or natural, can improve health outcomes such as depression, agitation, and sleep.
In the light of the above facts, we need keep our environment clean at all times, ensuring the cleanliness and proper aeration of our homes through any of the following habits;
Disposing our dirt properly
Weeding our environment periodically
Curbing infestation through fumigation
Habitual hand washing with soap and water; running water preferably.
A wise man once said, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
A clean environment is nothing short of a necessity. It is common knowledge that unclean and filthy surroundings can breed disease-causing microorganisms galore. However, we all seemed to have learned to turned deaf ears to anyone who mentions cleanliness out of sheer hopelessness.
To keep your surroundings clean, here are a few more reasons why you need to keep more than just dustbins to ensure proper cleanliness:
To Increase the Aesthetic Value
A clean and tidy environment is bound to look better than a filthy, smelly one with unbearably unhygienic conditions. An environment that is clean is bound to be aesthetically pleasing to look at as well.
To Address Health Concerns
If a place has flies, filth and foul stinks, can diseases be far behind? Any area with lack of proper waste disposal facility is going to harbour germs, bacteria and microorganisms that do anything but good to the human inhabitants.
To Kill Mosquitoes
Untended garbage can consist of decaying pots and discarded tyres. The garbage often gets stacked to such an extent as to form heaps that can cause water to stagnate. Stagnant water is the breeding ground for mosquitoes. Diseases like dengue and malaria might be commonplace in neighbourhoods with un-disposed garbage.
To Better Livelihood
A cleaner city can mean improved livelihood. Tourists, especially foreigners, have a strong inclination for cleaner and hygienic destinations. Keeping your city clean can mean more tourists and better standards of living for the locals.
To Breather Pure Air
Ever passed a garbage dump and stopped inhaling altogether for the duration just to avoid breathing in the witheringly obnoxious odour? You don’t need to do that anymore! All you need to do is keep your city clean!
To Enhance the Appeal of Your City
A cleaner place will not only attract tourists but also attract big-shot companies, corporate giants and multinationals and create more job opportunities in your area! Why move the cities to look for jobs when you can stay and work in your own?!
To Preserve Nature
Preserving Mother Nature is the need of the hour. The first step to working to working towards it is to keep the city you live in as clean and tidy as possible. It is your obligation as to be a socially responsible citizen.
Besides using dustbins to segregate recyclable waste from the non-recyclable one, you ought to stop littering around and ensure that the garbage dumps are emptied timely and disposed in the right manner.
The environment in your neighborhood and surrounding community has a huge impact on your health and lifespan. Where you live determines how safe your drinking water is, whether you have access to healthy food, how often you get outdoors to exercise and whether you breathe clean air.
In fact, an health statistics show that social factors, like your physical environment and quality of support services, account for over 50 percent of total deaths a year in Nigeria. That is, people living in dilapidated neighborhoods with fewer public services, safe spaces and supportive social networks are more likely to suffer poor health and premature death.
With poor health policies and corrupt public health officials perverting the course of quality living, there are plenty of smaller things you and your neighbors can start doing right now to help make your neighborhood healthier. Here are 10 ideas to help you and everyone around you live better and longer.
1. Grow healthy food
Photo by Agence Producteurs Locaux Damien Kühn on Unsplash
Garden-fresh fruits and vegetables grown naturally in your backyard with homemade compost and without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are more nutritious than refrigerated produce shipped from long distances. Less reliance on transportation also means lower fossil-fuel use and fewer carbon emissions that cause health-harming climate change. Organize a healthy produce swap with neighbors who also have gardens or start a community garden. You can even use an empty lot.
If gardening isn’t popular or doable in your neighborhood, start a centrally located farmer’s market or buy a bulk membership in a CSA (community-supported agriculture) to get farm-fresh seasonal produce for you and your neighbors. Also ask local grocery stores, restaurants and schools to offer more healthy food and drink options.
2. Make your community more walkable and bikeable.
Each hour you spend in a car per day corresponds with a 6 percent increase in your odds of becoming obese. Obesity is linked to many chronic and deadly diseases. Too many vehicles on the road also leads to stressful traffic congestion, unhealthy greenhouse-gas emissions and accidents that injure and kill people and animals.
To make your community healthier and safer, advocate to make it more walkable and bikeable. Work with local officials to create pedestrian and bike zones. Ask for bike racks around town. Set up a “walking bus” where parents take turns escorting kids to and from school. Lobby for speed bumps, elevated crosswalks, lower speed limits and other traffic-calming designs to slow down drivers. Even small decreases save lives, as evidenced by a 2011 study from AAA which found you’re nearly 70 percent more likely to be killed if you’re struck by a car going 30 mph than by one going 25 mph. If you can’t walk or bike, consider carpooling.
3. Shop local
Photo by Jordan Christian on Unsplash
Buying from businesses in your community doesn’t just help them thrive, it also helps you and your neighbors in a number of health-promoting ways. For one thing, if stores are nearby you can walk or bike there, improving your physical fitness and reducing car use (see the previous tip). When shops are close and goods aren’t shipped from far away you minimize traffic jams, energy consumption, carbon emissions and habitat loss from sprawl. In addition, supporting community merchants strengthens the local economy, which in turn improves the health of your neighborhood and saves lives. Lower income and economic insecurity is widely linked to poorer health and lower mental well-being.
4. Reduce neighborhood waste
Litter isn’t just unsightly, it’s also dangerous for kids, wildlife and everybody else in your neighborhood. Improperly discarded cigarette butts, old tires, junk food wrappers, plastic soda rings, beer cans, chemicals and other trash can hurt or kill animals, start fires, promote harmful bacteria and clog stormwater drains (which causes flooding and contaminates groundwater).
Pick up trash when you see it or organize regular neighborhood cleanups. Start a compost pile in your yard instead of dumping food scraps and yard waste in the garbage, or set up a community compost center. Composting not only transforms waste into healthy nutrient-rich soil for your yard and garden, but it also cuts greenhouse gas emissions from the breakdown of organic matter in landfills and from fuel used to transport waste.
5. Plant trees
Photo by Matthew Smith on Unsplash
Besides absorbing air pollutants and carbon dioxide, protecting against climate change and providing oxygen, trees add to the health of humans, wildlife and neighborhoods in many additional ways. Plant trees in your yard (preferably native varieties adapted to soil and climate conditions) and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Consider organizing a community tree-planting project. Many cities and tree organizations like National Wildlife Federation’s Trees for Life program give away free seedlings to groups.
6. Encourage development of parks and outdoor spaces
Nature, trees and undeveloped fields and forests are good for your body and mind, according to several studies. It’s not just that they encourage you to get outside and move. Being in nature also cuts blood pressure, lowers the body-damaging impact of stress and promotes psychological well-being. Hospital patients who have a view of trees even tolerate pain better and go home faster.
Team up with community leaders to preserve green spaces, create parks, develop biking and walking paths, and establish more outdoor recreational areas. If you live in an urban neighborhood without many green spots encourage nearby schools, churches and community centers to open their playgrounds and other recreational spaces to local residents when not in use. Ask about indoor gyms, play areas, pools and even hallways for community use in bad weather.
7. Green the tiny spaces too
We all know those spots that could become real community assets with a little TLC. Maybe there’s an eyesore vacant lot that might be transformed into a public meditation garden or sitting park. Or how about that little strip of land between the sidewalk and curb that you and your neighbors could convert into a rain garden to absorb storm-water runoff and filter out chemicals, pesticides and other pollutants? Create a bigger rain garden in your yard to soak up rainwater from your downspouts, and urge your neighbors to follow suit.
8. Volunteer in your community
Join a group that’s working to make your community healthier — whether that’s providing nutritious meals to older neighbors, fighting poverty or improving the environment in your area. Other ways to get involved include attending municipal meetings, writing letters to community leaders, getting appointed or elected to a town board such as the planning commission, and even running for city council or other local office. Not only will you be directly involved in decision-making about your community’s growth, open spaces, parks and other services that affect health, but studies show that volunteering also boosts your own physical and mental health. All the more reason to encourage your neighbors to get involved too.
9. Clean up your energy use
Installing solar panels on your home allows you to generate electricity without producing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Too expensive? Do a bulk purchase with your neighbors and receive a discount. Solar co-ops like DC Sun allow communities to collectively green their energy use. If wind energy is more appealing, consider installing a small wind turbine on your property. Even better, organize your neighbors to create a community-owned wind farm.
10. Be neighborly
Research shows that connecting with people around you makes you healthier and boosts your lifespan. Specifically, studies show that having a strong social network helps cut stress levels that can harm your immune system, coronary arteries and gut function, plus it elevates stress-busting hormones.
Introduce yourself to neighbors and stay in regular touch. Create a welcoming front porch and reach out to passersby. Or put an outdoor lounging space in your front yard instead of the back yard to improve your approachability. Organize a neighborhood party. Keep your community even healthier by creating a neighborhood “care watch” committee that provides local residents in need with home-delivered meals, rides to the doctor and help with everyday tasks.