Today is World Environment Day which is an environmental awareness day, run by the United Nations. The aim of today is to raise awareness of the environment and specific environmental issues. Every year there is a new main focus for WED. This year the focus is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution.’
While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become addicted to single-use or disposable plastic — with severe environmental consequences. According to the UN Environmental Committee, "around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. In total, half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once — and then thrown away."
We produce nearly 300 million tons of plastic waste every year. That's nearly equivalent to the weight of the human population and of that, nearly 60% has ended up in a landfill or natural environment.
We’re seeing some other worrying trends. "Since the 1950s, the rate of plastic production has grown faster than that of any other material. We’ve also seen a shift away from the production of durable plastic, and towards plastics that are meant to be thrown away after a single use," states the UN Environment.
These single-use plastic products are everywhere. For many of us, they’ve become integral to our daily lives and some of the biggest producers don’t manage their waste effectively.
This problem needs to be addressed now and there a number of things that governments can do, as well as us as consumers— from running public awareness campaigns, offering incentives for recycling, or even just educating your friends and family easy ways they can recycle.
We’ve seen a lot of positive action, but the truth is that we all need to do more.
This World Environment Day, we would like to help call on people everywhere to take concrete steps to #BeatPlasticPollution in their own lives. There are so many things that you can do – from asking the restaurants you frequent to stop using plastic straws, to bringing your own coffee mug to work or buying from companies (like Jelt), who create products that are sustainable and charitable.
Happy World Environment Day.