As declared by the United Nations on 1974 the world celebrated June 5th as the World Environment Day. Prime objective of this declaration was to raise the awareness on basic factors that effect the environment around us and protect it for the future generations.
Each year the world environment day is celebrated with a special theme. For the Year 2018 the theme is “Beat Plastic Pollution”. Chosen by this year’s host, India, the theme of World Environment Day 2018 invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health.
Plastic in many ways is helpful to us in our day to day lives. But the world today has become over-reliant on single use or disposable plastics. According the environment day 2018 website, around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. Every year we use up to 5 trillion disposable plastic bags. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use.
Nearly one third of the plastic packaging we use escapes collection systems, which means that it ends up clogging our city streets and polluting our natural environment. Every year, up to 13 million tons of plastic leak into our oceans, where it smothers coral reefs and threatens vulnerable marine wildlife. The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the Earth four times in a single year, and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates.
Here are some major facts about plastic pollution happening around the world!
|FACT #1||8.3 BILLION Metric Tons (9.1 BILLION US Tons) of plastic has been produced since plastic was introduced in the 1950s. The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity.|
|FACT #2||Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).|
|FACT #3||91% of plastic waste isn’t recycled. And since most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, all that plastic waste could exist for hundreds or even thousands of years.|
|FACT #4||500 MILLION plastic straws are used EVERY DAY in America. That’s enough to circle the Earth twice.|
|FACT #5||Nearly TWO MILLION single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute.|
|FACT #6||100 BILLION plastic bags are used by Americans every year. Tied together, they would reach around the Earth’s equator 773 times!|
|FACT #7||ONE MILLION plastic bottles are bought EVERY MINUTE around the world — and that number will top half a TRILLION by 2021. Less than half of those bottles end up getting recycled.|
|FACT #8||8 MILLION METRIC TONS of plastic winds up in our oceans each year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic…compounding every year.|
|FACT #9||There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.|
|FACT #10||If plastic production isn’t curbed, plastic pollution will outweigh fish pound for pound by 2050.|
Source – https://www.earthday.org/
Situation in Sri Lanka
After the tragedy at Meethotamulla garbage dump site Sri Lankan government imposed a ban on several plastic and polythene products including Grocery bags and Lunch sheets. This action was helpful to reduce the plastic usage in Sri Lanka by a considerable amount but still the plastic pollution still prevails in many parts of the country including coastal areas.
This April Sri Lanka teamed up with Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance (CCOA) to join forces in the fight against plastic pollution. This alliance aims to eliminate single use plastic and address marine plastic pollution. Meanwhile, the Plastic Bank is using blockchain technology to incentivize the collection and recycling of plastic waste.
Sri Lanka 5th biggest plastic polluter in the world?
In February 2015 media reported that Sri Lanka generates 5.1kg of waste per person, per day; that 1.59 million metric tons of this is mismanaged plastic waste; and that it dumps between 0.24 and 0.64 million metric tons of plastic into the sea each year. This media reports had been based on a 2012 report from the World Bank. But later The Sunday Times article revealed that the article was based on false statistics, and questioned the authenticity of the report.
As an island nation surrounded by the ocean Sri Lanka should mainly focus on marine plastic pollution as most of the plastics we dump at various sites end up in oceans around us. And more strict rules and regulations are needed in order to curb the plastic pollution in this island.