By Green Mom:
Today is , and this year’s theme is “beating plastic pollution.” Designed by the United Nations, this day is a campaign to encourage awareness and to inspire action to protect our environment. The annual event is meant to bring needed attention to environmental issues, from marine pollution to human overpopulation to global warming to wildlife endangerment and sustainability.
World Environment Day was founded in 1974. Each year, a different country hosts the official celebration that takes place to help highlight the theme and support the effort for action. This year, India is the host country. One hundred, forty-three countries will participate.
As I said, this year’s theme is plastic pollution: #beatplasticpollution and “if you can’t reuse it, refuse it.” Unfortunately, plastic pollution is one of the great environmental challenges of our time. We have become too reliant on single-use plastic products, and this comes with a price. Most of this plastic never gets recycled or is not recyclable. Almost 1/3 of the plastic packaging we use ends up in landfills, but lots — too much — ends up on our city streets and polluting our natural environment.
Every year, up to 13 million tons of plastic lands in our oceans. Did you know there are over 5 trillion plastic pieces, weighing over 250,000 tons, floating in our oceans and seas? This amount translates to 700 pieces of plastic for every human on earth. A new study has found that 17 billion pounds (8 million metric tons) of the stuff spews into the ocean every year from 192 countries with coastal access.
The scary part is that plastic pollution also ends up in our drinking water; therefore, we’re exposed to plastic and chemical pollution in our bodies. Plastic is made from harmful, toxic chemicals that disrupt hormones and put our health at risk.
Let’s mark World Environmental Day as a beginning of change. This is how to start:
- Bring your own shopping bags to the supermarket.
- Pressure food suppliers to use non-plastic packaging.
- Refuse plastic cutlery.
- Pick up any plastic you see the next time you go for a walk on the beach.
What else can we do to tackle this problem? Share your ideas on social media, using the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution.
Plastic is just one of the worst things created by humans. It is dangerous because it’s polluting our cities, oceans and waterways; and it’s contributing to health problems in humans and animals. Companies that produce plastic spend a great deal of money campaigning about its safety when the truth is far from that — and we’re not told about it. In the U.S. alone, plastic is the third largest industry. It’s responsible for 400 billion dollars in shipments.
We must remember that the plastic business is producing this volume of material because of consumer demand, so less demand will create less plastic. I challenge you all to reduce your use of plastic today for the health of the planet and marine life, as well as for the health of humans.