Creating a better world is down to us all

Mara Lopez pleads for much more recycling in ''beautiful'' Queenstown.

I come from Argentina, which has no recycling system, and when I remember the people there mixing the rubbish every day, it scares me. I came to New Zealand in 2011 and there was an instant admiration. I had never imagined such an organised country, and I was so happy and proud about the recycling system here.

And so to Queenstown; the most beautiful town in New Zealand, the city of the Queen, where everyone wants to live for the rest of their lives, and yet there is something very worrying. With a local population base of about 20,000 with 1,200,000 visitors a year, Queenstown is becoming the least sustainable town in the country.

We need to realise our world is not only our home but everything which inhabits it - humans, plants, animals, insects, trees, lakes, etc. Humans are witnesses to how marine and coastal ecosystems have been degraded, and all that is our fault. Every day we consume more, and what is more critical, we recycle less.

Humans are becoming more individualistic and in constant search of their complacency, but we ignore everything and everyone who shares life with us and those who have as much right to live as we do. Every day, dozens of animals die victims of pollution, either by ingestion of plastics or oil. What is even more serious is the over-exploitation of animal consumption worldwide.

To all Queenstown citizens, and not only the fortunate locals, but visitors from around the world reading this, I invite you to think, to realise we can all do our bit and have a better world not only for ourselves but for our children, grandchildren and all generations to come.

I ask the council: why do we have a lot of fines, licences and policies and yet you don't have any for those who don't recycle!

More than 50% of our rubbish is recyclable, and what are we doing with it?

I ask for a collaboration between all those working in hotels and restaurants, the biggest sources of waste, and ask the council to help generate more awareness to the population and demand those who are not recycling to start.

We need to promote the importance of recycling in all public areas. Today, we walk happily in the gardens because we see a clean lake and ducks swimming without any plastic bags tangled around their bodies; I assure you in the country where I come from this is typical and alarming to say the least. We need to be aware each time we are going to throw something out and the consequences of that. Recycling must become a habit.

Let us all be grateful where we are because of its beautifully unique scenery. Let's keep it that way and expand it to the whole world. It is not hard; it's just simply being aware and taking responsibility for something that belongs to us: the planet Earth.

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