06 June 2023
The Secretary-General Message on World Environment Day
This World Environment Day is a call to beat plastic pollution. Every year, over 400 million tons of plastic is produced worldwide – one third of which is used just once. Every day, the equivalent of over 2000 garbage trucks full of plastic is dumped into our oceans, rivers, and lakes. The consequences are catastrophic. Microplastics find their way into the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Plastic is made from fossil fuels – the more plastic we produce, the more fossil fuel we burn, and the worse we make the climate crisis. But we have solutions. Last year, the global community began negotiating a legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution. This is a promising first step, but we need all hands-on deck. A new report by the UN Environment Programme shows that we can reduce plastic pollution by 80 per cent by 2040 – if we act now to reuse, recycle, reorient, and diversify away from plastics. We must work as one – governments, companies, and consumers alike – to break our addiction to plastics, champion zero waste, and build a truly circular economy. Together, let us shape a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future for all.