Environment & Biodiversity

World Environment Day celebrates its 50th anniversary this year

  • Despite their negative environmental impact, plastics have become an essential element of human life.
  • The fifth of June is World Environment Day, which serves as a reminder of our responsibilities to eliminate plastic pollution.

Why is this in the news?

  • World Environment Day celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, having been managed by UNEP since 1973.
  • World Environment Day has developed to become the largest global venue for environmental outreach.
  • #BeatPlasticPollution is the theme. The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is the critical need to battle plastic waste.

The Problem of Plastic Pollution and the Need for Solutions

  • Plastic pollution is a significant global issue that must be addressed immediately.
  • Every year, about 400 million tonnes of plastic are manufactured, with less than 10% recycled.
  • Plastic pollution has a severe impact on ecosystems and poses a risk to human health.

Understanding Plastic Pollution

  • Plastics’ Versatile Nature: Plastics are synthetic materials that can be formed and moulded to meet specific needs.
  • Plastic Types: Commodity plastics including PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, PP, and PS dominate global production.
  • Different Properties and Identification Codes: Plastics can be identified by their resin identification codes (RIC) and have distinct properties.

Plastics’ environmental impact

  • Plastics have revolutionised many industries, yet they pose serious environmental challenges.
  • Plastics decompose slowly, resulting in the persistence of plastic trash.
  • Microplastics, both primary and secondary, accumulate in a variety of situations.
  • Toxic substances and health hazards
  • Toxic compounds found in microplastics endanger human health.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) in microplastics can be harmful to human health.

Worst Plastic Pollution Examples

  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a massive accumulation of plastic and microplastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean.
  • It originated as a result of converging ocean currents and is located in the North Pacific Ocean.
  • It has a surface size of 1.6 million square kilometres and smaller areas in other oceans.

Actions to Combat Plastic Pollution

  • The Importance of Collective Action: Plastic pollution necessitates collaborative efforts and prompt action.
  • Reminder of Responsibility on World Environment Day: World Environment Day serves as a reminder of our duty to combat plastic pollution.

Way ahead

  • Plastic Recycling in the Future: Advanced recycling technologies provide new ways to efficiently recycle plastic trash.
  • Circular Economy Models: Adopting circular economy ideas can help reduce plastic waste and encourage sustainable resource use.
  • Campaigns for Education and Awareness: Raising awareness and educating the public about the consequences of plastic pollution can result in behavioural change.
  • Collaboration between Industries and Governments: Collaboration between industries and governments is crucial for developing comprehensive plastic pollution-reduction measures.
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