September 22, 2023, Friday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

World Environment Day – June 5, 2023

Focus on solutions to plastic pollution

The Nepal Weekly
June 6, 2023

The world population is moving up from the current 8 billion mark, and we are using the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to maintain our present way of life, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports. That means, the ecosystems cannot keep up with our demands and, as a result, are fast declining. As such, every person needs to remember that we only have one Earth and are running out of time to save our planet. The meaning of the theme for this year’s World Environment Day – only one Earth – to alarm not to waste any time for environmental actions.

WED is the biggest international day for the environment. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and held annually since 1974, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach. It is celebrated by millions of people

World Environment Day was established by UN General Assembly on the first day of the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment which was held in Stockholm Sweden from June 5- 6 in 1972. Since then Word Environment Day is celebrated annually on 5th June and various activities for awareness and protection of Environment are carried out. In 1987, it is decided to rotate the host of Environment Day activities by selecting a host county for the Environment Day activities celebration.

However, when there was strict lockdown to stay safe from coronavirus there were no human activities including transportation. Then the mountains were visible from far away. Nepali mountains were spotted from the far north of India, air and environment of the majority of cities in this globe have improved, the river of Ganga is much cleaner. Mount Everest was visible from higher parts of the Kathmandu Valley. That was part of restoration of clean environment. But every time lockdown is not possible for us. That means human activities cause damage to environment.  

Human beings must work and disburse but as the human movement slows, and the environment furnishes proving that we humans are the biggest threat to the environment.

World Environment Day means extensively to people to planet. It is closely related to climate change, air pollution, clean cooking solutions, waste management, wildlife conservation, forest conservation, soil conservation and so on.

Thus, such all aspects ensemble or separately discussed and interacted for policy influence and awareness on the occasion of World Environment Day and also on other casual days. This year marks the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day, which will focus on solutions to plastic pollution, using the hashtag and slogan #Beat Plastic Pollution.

More than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year worldwide, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 per cent is recycled. An estimated 19 to 23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers and seas annually. Micro plastics – tiny plastic particles up to 5mm in diameter – find their way into food, water and air. It is estimated that each person on the planet consumes more than 50,000 plastic particles per year –and many more if inhalation is considered. Discarded or burnt single-use plastic harms human health and biodiversity and pollutes every ecosystem from mountain tops to the ocean floor. With available science and solutions to tackle the problem, governments, companies and other stakeholders must scale up and speed actions to solve this crisis. This underscores the importance of this World Environment Day in mobilizing transformative action from every corner of the world.

An electric bus in the EV rally organised in Kathmandu

A resolution was adopted in 2022 at the United Nations Environment Assembly to develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, with the ambition to complete the negotiations by end of 2024. The second meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) will be held in Paris at the end of May 2023. The instrument is to be based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic.

Many actors in Geneva are actively working to address the plastic crisis at the global and local level. As a hub of environmental and health governance, Geneva plays an important role in the multilateral processes to address plastic pollution.

The Geneva Environment Network has developed a Plastic and the Environment series, a set of online resources on the plastics crisis, its impact on people and the environment, and international cooperation to address this global problem, and also launched in 2020 the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues, aiming at outreaching and creating synergies among actors, highlighting efforts made by intergovernmental organizations and governments, businesses, the scientific community, civil society and individuals in the hope of informing and creating stronger synergies and coordinated actions.

This underscores the importance of this World Environment Day in mobilizing transformative action from every corner of the world.

Each year, World Environment Day is hosted by a different country in which official celebrations take place. The host country for 2023 is Côte d’Ivoire. Côte d’Ivoire has banned the use of plastic bags since 2014, supporting a shift to reusable packaging. The country’s largest city, Abidjan, has also become a hub for start-ups looking to beat plastic pollution.

This year’s World Environment Day will be supported by the Government of the Netherlands, a member of the High Ambition Coalition calling for a strong and ambitious international legally binding instrument to combat plastic pollution.

President’s message

Right evaluation will be made of my long political struggle: Presidential  candidate Poudel –
President Ram Chandra Paudel

On the occasion of World Environment Day, President Ram Chandra Paudel has extended his best wishes to all.

President Paudel stated on the need to make development works environment-friendly. “On this day, we must commit to making the constitutionally guaranteed right to live in a clean environment meaningful by keeping our houses and surrounding clean and maintaining ecological balance.”

“The overbearing ambitions of human beings are spurring ruthless exploitation of nature, hosting several challenges. It is leading to climate change-related problems, aggravating pollution, and declining biodiversity,” expressed President Paudel.

The Head of the State wished “May this day provide us further enthusiasm to implement the agendas presented by Nepal in the international forums regarding environmental conservation and elimination of pollution.”

Furthermore, he stated that Nepal has made some tangible achievements through various programs placed in line with Nepal’s commitment to mitigate climate risks and conserve the environment.

On the occasion, the Head of the State extended his gratitude to the Ministry of Forest and Environment and other ministries, local and provincial governments, security agencies, and development partners and stakeholders for shouldering the responsibilities of environment conservation.