It is a fact that we have all used plastic in one way or another. From the soda we grab to our babies’ diaper packaging, most of our daily necessities have plastic involved. However, although needed, plastic has been a very dangerous item for our environment.
Today is World Environment Day, and this year’s focus is on solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution.
It has been widely reiterated over the years that plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing humanity and the planet at large.
Big African organisations, such as the African Development Bank, based in Ivory Coast, have long joined global ones to support this event. This has a particular resonance this year, with Ivory Coast as the global host.
At a four-day event in the major urban city of Abidjan, the bank supported several activities, such as beach cleaning on June 3 and a panel discussion and an exhibition of solutions to plastic pollution in Abidjan on June 5.
This year is a reminder that people’s actions on plastic pollution matter. The steps governments and businesses are taking to tackle plastic pollution are the consequence of this action.
Every year on June 5, the United Nations Environment Programme sponsors World Environment Day to raise awareness and inspire action for environmental protection. It is supported by many non-governmental organisations, businesses, and government entities and represents the primary United Nations outreach day supporting the environment.
To mark this day, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres tweeted: “Recycling alone is not enough to #BeatPlasticPollution. Creating a circular economy for plastic is critical to tackling the climate crisis and improving lives for everyone, everywhere.”
He added, “It is time to accelerate this action and transition to a circular economy. It is time to #BeatPlasticPollution.”
Numbers Don’t Lie
According to the UN, humanity produces over 430 million metric tonnes of plastic every year, two-thirds of which are short-lived products that soon become waste. This has devastating consequences for wildlife, ecosystems, human health, and the global economy.
Guterres said yesterday that every day, the equivalent of over 2,000 garbage trucks full of plastic are dumped into the oceans, rivers, and lakes.
The good news, according to the UN, is that momentum is building towards a more sustainable, circular economy for plastics.
Some progress is being made, with a historic resolution passed last year. at the United Nations Environment Assembly to end plastic pollution and agree on a legally binding agreement by the end of 2024. But the UN maintains there is much left to do, which will involve every section of society playing its part.
Playing Our Part
While celebrations of World Environment Day 2023 kicked off in the host country, Ivory Coast, millions of people partake in similar activities across the world.
Today, environmental activists, NGOs, and individuals all over the world joined the UN in marking the day. Some have held awareness events, and some are using the Twitter hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution in support of this eventful day.
By introducing a new course through their training platform Acquire, Pin Africa, a global digital media platform that promotes African stories told by Africans and trains African aspirant journalists, has also joined this important cause.
Named The Fundamentals of Climate and Environmental Reporting, the course aims to let aspiring African journalists play their part in climate change and environmental awareness conversations across the globe.
“Many of the voices dominating climate change conversations are those of journalists from the Global North. We (Acquire), want to be able to diversify the narrative pool so climate information can become more accessible to African communities.”
For more information on this course, visit www.acquire.pin-africa.com.