World Environment Day 2018: Moving Towards a Plastic-Free Future

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To encourage awareness and action for protection of our environment, United Nations has introduced this principal environment vehicle, World Environment Day (WED) that occurs on 5th June of every year.

Every World Environment Day has a different global host country, where the official celebrations take place, this year WED is hosted by India. It is the “people’s day” and has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.

From its inception in 1974, WED always had a special theme which relates to grave environmental concerns at that time. The theme for this year, 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution”. The theme invites everyone to think seriously how they can make changes in their everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution.

Though a large part of the population depends on plastic for their daily use, nearly one-third of it is not disposed off properly and ends up clogging drains and choking the environment. Plastic is rampantly polluting our water bodies, harming marine life and posing a threat to human life and health which is the major concern of environmental bodies this year.

Plastic makes up 10% of the total waste generated, in which half of it used is disposable or single-use. As it is non-renewable and its manufacture and destruction expose individuals and environment to many toxins, including carcinogens, plastic presents a major problem. Plastic can persist in the environment for nearly a thousand years before it fully disintegrates.

The onus to beat the pollution lies not only on the government bodies but also on ordinary citizens. Only 9% of plastic is recycled in the world and nearly 45% of the plastic that is disposed, consists of the ‘big four’ which include bags, glasses, cutlery and bottles. Most of this plastic ends up in oceans or rivers, where it chokes marine life and contaminates the water with chemicals.

Some of the studies even state that there will be more plastic in the oceans compared to fish by 2050. Through this day, UN is making an effort to urge governments, industries, communities and people to unite in the fight against plastic and explore alternatives that are sustainable.

PM Narendra Modi tweeted a message and conveyed his greetings on this World Environment Day: Greetings on #WorldEnvironmentDay. Together, let us ensure that our future generations live in a clean and green planet, in harmony with nature.