Today, June 5, is World Environment Day, the biggest international day for the environment. It is celebrated by millions of people across the world who raise awareness and take action for environmental protection. This year marks the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day, which was first observed in 1973 during the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment.
The theme of World Environment Day 2023 is Solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution. The objective behind this theme is to create awareness and encourage efforts to reduce plastic waste and its harmful impacts on the environment and human health.
The host country for World Environment Day 2023 is Côte d’Ivoire, a West African nation that is taking ambitious steps to tackle plastic pollution. The country has banned single-use plastics since 2014 and has launched several initiatives to promote recycling and a circular economy. Côte d’Ivoire is also partnering with the Netherlands, one of the countries leading the global action on plastic pollution, to support this year’s event.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), more than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year worldwide, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 percent is recycled. An estimated 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers and seas annually. Microplastics find their way into food, water and air. It is estimated that each person on the planet consumes more than 50,000 plastic particles per year –and many more if inhalation is considered.
Plastic pollution poses a serious threat to biodiversity, climate change and human health. It affects marine life, coral reefs, soil quality, and air quality. It also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and exacerbates global warming. Without action, exposure to air pollution beyond safe guidelines will increase by 50 percent within the decade, and plastic waste flowing into aquatic ecosystems will triple by 2040.
World Environment Day 2023 calls for urgent action from governments, businesses and individuals to #BeatPlasticPollution and find solutions that can protect and restore the environment. Some of the actions that can be taken include:
Avoiding single-use plastics such as bags, bottles, straws and cups. Choosing reusable or biodegradable alternatives. Recycling or composting plastic waste.
Supporting policies and initiatives that reduce plastic production and consumption
Raising awareness and educating others about the impacts of plastic pollution. World Environment Day 2023 is an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with nature and our responsibility to safeguard it for future generations. It is also a chance to celebrate the achievements and innovations that have been made in addressing plastic pollution and other environmental challenges. As UNEP says, “World Environment Day is a reminder that people’s actions on plastic pollution matter. The steps governments and businesses are taking to tackle plastic pollution are the consequence of this action.”
Let us join hands and make World Environment Day 2023 a success! 🌎🌱🌊