World Environment Day aims to Beat Plastic Pollution

Published by Aoife Cusack on

June 5th, 2018

World Environment Day, the most important day of the year to highlight the key environmental issues of our time, is set to be hosted by India this year.

The event takes place on June 5th every year and is celebrated by over 100 countries that take part. The day was started in 1972 by the UN to draw the public’s attention to environmental issues and to encourage people to make changes to their everyday lives.

India’s’ emergence as a global environmental leader has been affirmed to the world in recent years, and this year the country will host the worldwide event as it addresses one of the most prominent environmental issues in India and globally today – plastic pollution.

The UN estimates that up to five trillion single-use plastic bags are bought every year. One million plastic bottles are bought every minute and 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic each year.

Event held across the world during the day will focus on four key areas, reducing single-use plastics, improving waste management, phasing out microplastics and promoting research into alternatives.

Photo: MaxPixel

India has long struggled with its plastic waste problem and is now looking to become a world leader in plastic recycling, with roughly 90 per cent of its PET waste recycled in 2017, for example.

Last year, India’s capital city of Delhi introduced a ban on disposable plastics. Maharashtra, India’s second most populous state, is also set to implement a ban on most single-use plastic.

The ban will include single-use plastic bags, flex boards, banners, disposable containers, and utensils. Certain packaging used for food will be excluded from the ban, however.

In preparation for the event, 6,000 citizens carried out the largest ever beach clean-up in India on 27 May as over 200,000kg of rubbish was collected from Versova beach.

It is hoped that the effort made by the public in India will inspire innovators, activists and leaders worldwide to make a change and inspire the public to completely rethink the way we produce, use and manage plastic.

People around the world are also encouraged to join the online global game of Plastic Pollution Tag.

Participants choose the type of disposable plastic they are ready to give up and share a selfie on social media with the hashtag #BeatPlaticPollution.

The next step is to tag three friends in the post and challenge them to do the same within 24 hours.

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Aoife Cusack

Aoife is a final year journalism and Irish student at DCU. She appreciates the environment, the Irish language and a good cup of coffee.