HomeOpinionsWorld Environment Day 2023: What Can We Do To #Beatplasticpollution?

World Environment Day 2023: What Can We Do To #Beatplasticpollution?

Titilope Oguntuga is a business professional and currently the Head, Sustainable Development and Corporate Brand at the Nigerian operations of the world’s largest building solutions provider, Lafarge Africa Plc. In this piece, in commemoration of World Environment Day, she gives an insight into how individuals can take actionable steps to beat plastic pollution. World Environment Day is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and take action to address pressing environmental issues like plastic pollution.

Something happened on 5th June 1973. Conversations for and in favour of the Environment were formalised by the United Nations. Today, marks the 50th Anniversary of commemorating the World Environment Day. What has happened in 5 decades and how has the world progressed? Better or Worse? We can all be the judge in this case.

With the theme #beatplasticpollution for 2023, this is a rallying cry for to ‘save the world’ not just the planet. It is recorded that more than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced globally every year and 50% of this is designed for single use. These are the largest , most harmful fraction of marine litter. The picture below looks like our reality – scratching the issues on the surface but enabling decay right. Statistics reveal that about 9% of all plastic produced is recycled. What happens to the 91%? About 2 million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide.

In 2022, China, USA, Japan, Brazil and Germany top the countries with the highest usage. India generates around 3.4 million tonnes of plastic waste every year with about 30% of this is recycled. 13% of the 27+ million tonnes of municipal solid waste in Nigeria is from plastic and every Nigerian will consume about 7.5kg plastics annually.

While things look vague, some countries are taking actionable steps to #beatplasticpollution

In UAE, Abu Dhabi has placed a ban on single-use plastic. Dubai will ban plastic in 2024 and by 2026, importing plastic cutlery, drink cups, food packaging, plastic bottles and items that contain plastics will be prohibited. Some countries now impose a charge per plastic bag.

This #worldenvironmentday2023 what can we do to #beatplasticpollution

  1. A shift to circular economy has the potential to reduce plastics in the ocean by over 80% in 2040. This means recycling and upcycling plastics can help to #beatplasticpollution
  2. Choose more sustainable alternatives: avoid the use of single use plastics, buy products in alternative packaging and fully embrace better living choices like going shopping with a shopping bag. Sometimes, it is this simple.
  3. Responsible disposal: Every #globalcitizen must care about where all the plastic goes. We can start from our spaces by disposing responsibly and to recyclers, holding one another more accountable and advocating through our actions, that we can do not so much without plastics.

As we mark the 50th anniversary of the #worldenvironmentday , what the next 50 years holds is in our hands. We may not be here but what world will we leave behind. This is a call to action.

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