Climate Action

World Environment Day 2018: Joining forces to beat plastic pollution

World Environment Day 2018 is taking place on 5th June, and this year's hosts are India.

  • 04 June 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

World Environment Day 2018 is taking place on 5th June, and this year's hosts are India.

The global celebrations were created by the UN in 1972 as a way of raising environmental awareness and action. While 2017’s event, hosted by Canada, was on the theme of ‘connecting people to nature’, this year is all about plastic waste and pollution.

The issue has gained significant traction in the past year and public awareness and commitments are at an all-time high.

India is well-placed to lead on the issue as it has the highest recycling rates in the world. As part of the celebrations, the government has announced a plastic clean-up at 100 historic sites, including the iconic Taj Mahal.

“The problem lies with the way we consume and dispose of plastic,” said Shri Raghavendra Rao from India’s Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. “In India today, 45% of plastics produced are single-use. That is a major problem.”

However, a global movement is growing in strength and UN Environment is gaining support through a simple game of tag. See how you can get involved:

- Choose which type of single-use plastic you’re ready to give up.
- Take a selfie (photo or video) showing yourself with the reusable alternative that you’re ready to embrace.
- Share your selfie on social media and “tag” three friends, businesses or high-profile people to challenge them to do the same within 24 hours. Be sure to use the #BeatPlasticPollution hashtag and mention @UNEnvironment

Public figures, politicians and film stars have already taken part, committing to giving up plastic bottles, straws, cutlery and more. You can also record your own clean-up efforts using the Litterati app.

There are currently 2,545 events planned right around the world. If you want to take part, find out what is happening in your local area here.

The #WorldEnvironmentDay hashtag is also being used to share thoughts and images as well.