By Prudence Arobani
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that there would be more plastic than fish by 2050 if the present trends continue.
Guterres, who stated this in his message for World Environment Day, marked on June 5, said the world was being ‘swamped’ by harmful plastic waste.
The Secretary-General is participating in the #BeatPlasticPollution challenge, in which users pledged to replace single-use plastics with reusable alternatives.
On Twitter, Guterres pledged to abolish the use of plastic bottles in his office, and he did that starting on Monday, removing all plastic bottles from his office, conference rooms and Department for Public Information.
He said: “‘#BeatPlasticPollution’ is the motto of this year’s World Environment Day. Here in my office, we are abolishing the use of single use plastic bottles for water”.
The UN chief said the world must unite to “beat plastic pollution” now, noting that microplastic particles in the ocean, “now outnumber stars in our galaxy”.
“We all have a role to play in protecting our only home. Our world is swamped by harmful plastic waste.
“Every year, more than eight million tonnes end up in the oceans. If present trends continue, by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic than fish,” he said.
Guterres said a healthy planet was essential for a prosperous and peaceful future, pointing out the astonishing comparison between stars in the cosmos and ocean plastics.
The secretary-general underscored that “from remote islands, to the Artic, nowhere is untouched”.
On World Environment Day, Guterres is encouraging everyone to also stop using plastic products which are designed just to be thrown away, such as plastic bottles.
“Refuse what you can’t re-use. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world,” the Secretary-General asserted.
Since it was first celebrated in 1974, the Day has helped raise awareness and generate political momentum around global environmental concerns such as ozone depletion, desertification and global warming.
In conjunction with the Day, UN Environment (UNEP), on Monday, launched the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), also known as the Renewables 2018 Global Status Report.
The report painted a positive picture of a renewable power sector characterised by falling costs, increased investment, record-setting installation and innovative business models that are driving rapid change.