This picture taken on June 3, 2023 shows a wild elephant eating rubbish mixed with plastic waste at a dump in the eastern district of Ampara, Sri Lanka. (PHOTO / AFP)
UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for concerted global action to reduce 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 2,000 garbage trucks full of plastic is dumped into oceans, rivers, and lakes, said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
The UN chief made the plea in a video message for an event at the UN headquarters in New York to mark World Environment Day, which falls on June 5.
This year's theme is "Solutions to Plastic Pollution."
ALSO READ: For people and planet, plastic pollution must end
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 2,000 garbage trucks full of plastic is dumped into oceans, rivers, and lakes, said Guterres.
"The consequences are catastrophic. Microplastics find their way into the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe," he said. "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, there are solutions, said Guterres.
ALSO READ: Pakistani PM stresses urgent need to curb plastic pollution
Last year, the international community began negotiating a legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution, which is a promising first step, he said. "A new report by the UN Environment Programme shows that we can reduce plastic pollution by 80 percent by 2040 if we act now to reuse, recycle, reorient, and diversify away from plastics."
Guterres called for concerted action. "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," he said.