World Environment Day is the biggest international day for the environment. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and held annually since 1973, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach. It is celebrated by millions of people across the world.
The theme for World Environment Day on 5 June 2023 will focus on solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution.
The world is being inundated by plastic. More than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 percent is recycled. An estimated 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers, and seas. Today, plastic clogs our landfills leaches into the ocean, and is combusted into toxic smoke, making it one of the gravest threats to the planet.
Not only that, what is less known is that microplastics find their way into the food we eat, the water we drink and even the air we breathe. Many plastic products contain hazardous additives, which may pose a threat to our health.
The good news is that we have science and solutions to tackle the problem –and a lot is already happening. What is needed most now is a surge of public and political pressure to scale up and speed actions from governments, companies and other stakeholders to solve this crisis. This underscores the importance of this World Environment Day mobilizing action from every corner of the world.
World Environment Day 2023 will showcase how countries, businesses and individuals are learning to use the material more sustainably, offering hope that one day, plastic pollution will be history.
“Use your voice and your choice to drive change.”
A big Mahalo to Jason Momoa for his unwavering commitment to #BeatPlasticPollution.
— UN Environment Programme (@UNEP) June 3, 2023
THE HOST COUNTRY
World Environment Day 2023 is hosted by Côte d’Ivoire in partnership with the Netherlands.
Côte d’Ivoire is showing leadership in the campaign against plastic pollution. Since 2014, it has banned the use of plastic bags, supporting a shift to reusable packaging. The country’s largest city, Abidjan, has also become a hub for environmentally-minded start-ups.
“The scourge of plastic pollution is a visible threat that impacts every community,” says Jean-Luc Assi, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development. “We are proud to champion diverse treatments for the plastic pandemic.”
This year’s World Environment Day will be supported by the Government of the Netherlands, which is one of the countries taking ambitious action along the plastic lifecycle. It is a signatory of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and a member of the Global Partnership on Plastic Pollution and Marine Litter.
“Plastic pollution and its detrimental impacts on health, the economy and the environment cannot be ignored. Urgent action is required. At the same time, we need true, effective and robust solutions,” said Vivianne Heijnen, Netherlands’ Minister for the Environment. “As part of several policies aimed at plastics, The Netherlands and the European community at large are fully committed to reduce the production and consumption of single-use plastic, which can and must be replaced with durable and sustainable alternatives.”