June 05, 2018 - GruntVeganfeature
In a message to the world, the UN is calling for action for this "scourge of plastic" that they claim has reached every corner of the Earth. In honour of World Environment Day, the UN released what is deemed the first-ever Global Plastics Report, titled "Single-Use Plastics: A Roadmap for Sustainability".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed this day, June 5, as the start of a global movement to defeat single-use plastics, highlighting that the stem of flow of plastics from India’s 1.3 billion people, almost one fifth of the world's population, and its rapid economic development can be done in a way that is sustainable and green.
Modi urged that “it is the duty of each one of us, to ensure that the quest for material prosperity does not compromise our environment.” “The choices that we make today, will define our collective future. The choices may not be easy. But through awareness, technology, and a genuine global partnership, I am sure we can make the right choices. Let us all join together to beat plastic pollution and make this planet a better place to live.”
Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, said that while plastics are responsible for savings lives in the health sector and the growth of clean energy from wind and solar panels, its ubiquitousness is one of our planets greatest challenges. "Our oceans have been used as a dumping ground, choking marine life and transforming some marine areas into a plastic soup. In cities around the world, plastic waste clogs drains, causing foods and breeds disease." Plastic packaging accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste globally, and much of it is single use, thrown away within just a few minutes of its first use. Once discarded, however, plastic can take a thousand years to decompose.
But, Solheim goes on to say that the UN assessment shows that "action can be painless and profitable — with huge gains for people and the planet that help avert the costly downstream costs of pollution." "Plastic isn't the problem. It's what we do with it."
On an encouraging note the UN found in their report that more than 60 countries have introduced bans or levies on single-use plastics, and that bans and levies are one of the most effective ways to reduce the use of disposable plastic items.