World Environment Day 2018

Published June 4, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

World Environment Day (WED) is an annual observance led by the United Nations (UN) Environment. This year, India takes turn in hosting the global observance. The country is regarded as an emerging leader, with one of the highest recycling rates in the world. By hosting WED 2018, it is expected to play a key role in combating plastic pollution, “accelerating its leadership on an issue of tremendous magnitude.”3

With the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution,” WED 2018 calls on governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together and explore sustainable alternatives and urgently reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic, polluting the oceans, damaging marine life, and threatening human health. Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, says that Indian philosophy and lifestyle has long been rooted in the concept of co-existence with nature. The government of India is organizing and promoting the WED celebration through a series of engaging activities and events generating strong public interest and participation from plastic clean-up drives in public areas, national reserves and forests to simultaneous beach clean-up activities.

UN Environment made public these alarming statistics: Every year, the world uses 500 billion plastic bags. Each year, at least 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans, the equivalent of a full garbage truck every minute. The last decade produced more plastic than was produced in the whole of the last century. Every minute, we buy one million plastic bottles, and 50 percent of these bottles that we use is disposable. And plastic makes up 10 percent of all the waste we generate.

WED 2018 knocks at the door of our senses to act now while there is still time to save the planet, if not for our generation, then for the sake of future generations who will inherit it and who definitely had no hand at all in the destruction of the environment, the consequences of which they will have to live with.

UN Environment, the leading global voice on the environment is providing leadership and encouraging partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. It works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations around the world.