If you’ve been active on social media, watched TV or went outside on the 5th of June, you probably heard of the World Environment Day. Great another one of these days, what is it? What does it entail? And why is it important? Let’s look at that together!
What is World Environment Day?
World Environment Day (acronym: WED) takes place the 5th of June every year, it was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 during the Stockholm conference about Human Environment but the first edition was launched only two years later in 1974. Since then it has been a growing platform to make people aware of environmental issues with a few main themes sticking out: marine pollution, human overpopulation, sustainable consumption and global warming. The day is being celebrated in more than 140 countries each year and hopefully by all nations in a few years from now.
WED has an anthem. It’s a song written by poet/diplomat Abhay K., you can listen to it here, ok it sounds a bit cheesy but if the target is children then it should have a positive impact. Let us know your own feeling about it in the comments!
What is the theme of the 2018 edition?
This year the World Environment Day is all about plastic. Not more plastic but as you’d have guessed, less! Every year, 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans and endanger countless fish species. Plastic is also discarded in landfills, forests, rivers and so forth. Basically, there is plastic everywhere and that’s not too good for our planet nor us. So the main message here is “beat plastic pollution”. A daunting task but a necessary one considering that if we do nothing we will soon not be able to do anything.
So who did what to “beat plastic pollution”?
There are quite a few interesting things that happened during the 2018 World Environment Day. The Travel Corporation (TTC) announced that, as their industry is realizing the need for a focus on sustainable tourism, they will phase out single-use plastics from their best travel and tourism companies. This action will include over 60 types of single-use plastic items. Simultaneously, Bengaluru women have gone on a road trip to talk about green menstruation. It is not well known but on average each woman uses 14000 pads in her lifetime. That's an enormous amount of disposable cotton but not only as a lot of products contain plastic and artificial fragrances as well. Lastly, the most unsustainable places of all, Dubai, has also worked on an environmental project for World Environment Day as they launched the UAE’s first eco-friendly warehouse facilities to help businesses decrease their negative impact on the planet.
What can we expect next year?
Next year the World Environment Day will take place at the same date as every year. But what theme should we expect? And what should we follow up on? For now, there is not much public information about what the theme will be but here are a few guesses. Retailers have been encouraged to adopt more drastic positions on environmental issues and governments are forcing them to improve, 2019 might be the right year to highlight retailers’ responsibility. Food waste is also a hot topic these days, it impacts both the poverty line and the planet and might be just the right theme for the next edition as consumers and corporations alike need to step up to tackle this issue. Apart from that, we will have to look back on our progress on the plastic pollution issue and see how this year’s actions will impact the future.