World Environment Day is the United Nation’s most important day for encouraging every individual about the importance of healthy environment and promoting worldwide awareness action for protecting the environment. The day is celebrated annually on 5th of June and it’s about connecting and inspiring humans to the environment, appreciating and celebrating our healthy environment free from every form of pollution ranging from industrial waste, agricultural run-off and forms of pollution and now emerging plastic pollution.
The day is celebrated in different ways from watershed clean-up, tree planting and calling on staff and partners to get involved, educating the young ones and taking of pictures with reusable items and encouraging others, advocating for the day on internet, adding of pictures to the album of world environment day, promoting and advocating for the world environment day on social media. The theme for this year World Environment Day is “Beat Plastic Pollution”.
Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental threat the planet is facing right now, most of the plastic we use is single-use- or disposable. Over 8million tonnes of the plastics escapes the recycling station end up in the ocean and this is turning our watershed into a plastic waste dumpsite which is damaging the marine life and threatening human health when it enters our food chain. Some of the effects are but not limited to widespread of diseases, deaths threat to our aquatic life’s by choking them when mistakenly taken as food and some affects the reproductive system of some aquatic life’s and this retard there reproductive ability.
This theme invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastics pollution on our natural places.
Global Plastics Pollution by the Numbers:
500 billion plastic bags used each year
13 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year
90% of bottled water and tap water found to contain plastic particles
50% of consumer plastics are single use
10% of all human-generated waste is plastic
Over 5million tonnes of plastic escape the recycling station and end up in the water. World Environment Day encourage changes in major key areas:
- Reducing single-use plastic – over 50% of the consumer plastics are designed to be used only once, providing a momentary convenience before being discarded. Eliminating single-use plastics is a critical first step to beat plastic pollution.
- Improving waste management – nearly one-third of the plastics we use escapes our collection system. Once in the environment, plastic get smaller and smaller, and by this gets into our food chain through the fish and some other marine life we eat so proper waste management must be put in place.
- Phasing out microplastic – research by United Nation shows that over 90% of bottled water and tap water contains microplastic particles which trace amount turning up in our blood, stomach, and lungs with increasing regularity.
- Promoting research into alternatives – as alternative use to plastics are limited and difficult to scale, a further research is needed to make sustainable plastics alternatives both economically viable and widely available.
Call to Action:
- The government must lead, make and implement strong policies that push for a more circular model of design and production of plastics. Calling on every government to curb the production and use of unnecessary single-use plastics to the plastics producing organization and make good reusable items.
- The private sector must innovate, adopting business models that reduce the downstream impact of their product and to make immediate investments in sustainable design for tomorrow which are, more reliable than plastic products
- Citizens who are the plastic users to exercise their buying power by refusing single-use plastics and informed others, demanding sustainable products and embracing sensible consumption habits in their own lives.
This Article was written by our Lagos Lagoon Waterkeeper Field Officer. He is a Zoologist and has a great love for Nature.
Facebook: Oduola Olamilekan Benayoun