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 per cent is recycled.
An estimated 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers and seas annually.
Plastic is predominantly produced from oil and gas, both of which are fossil fuels. The more plastic we make, the more fossil fuel is required, the more we intensify the climate crisis. Also, plastic products create greenhouse gas emissions across their whole lifecycle.
Microplastics – tiny plastic particles up to 5mm in diameter – 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.
Discarded or burnt single-use plastic harms human health and biodiversity and pollutes every ecosystem from mountain tops to the ocean floor.
With available science and solutions to tackle the problem, governments, companies and other stakeholders must scale up and speed actions to solve this crisis.
World Environment Day 2023 is a reminder that people’s actions on plastic pollution matters. The steps governments and businesses are taking to tackle plastic pollution are the consequence of this action. It is time to accelerate this action and transition to a circular economy.
While solutions must engage every sector, governments and local authorities need to drive change, introduce laws to reduce the production of harmful and unnecessary plastics, incentives to sustainable business practices and invest in better waste management infrastructure.
Investors can play a key role in mobilising finance and setting standards for businesses and industries to move away from harmful plastic production toward circular economies on plastics. Individual and community actions underpin the systemic change required to transition to a less plastic-dependent economy.
NGOs, faith organisations and community groups are a powerful source of change in the world. We can all use our voice and choices to drive change. (source: un.org)
Shift your behaviour to avoid single-use plastic whenever possible. Bring your own bags to the grocery store, avoid purchasing over-packaged products. Purchase items with extended warranties that can be repaired and ensure you find a reliable recycler for when the product reaches its end of life. Be part of the change, be part of this transition to a plastic free world!
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