25 May 2018 Press release Cities and lifestyles

Countdown to World Environment Day is On 

World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5th.

  • India is the global host of WED 2018, with celebrations across the country and events scheduled around the world.
  • This year’s theme is “Beat Plastic Pollution: If you can’t reuse it, refuse it”.

Nairobi, 25 May 2018 – With World Environment Day 2018 just over 10 days away, communities worldwide are launching their efforts to beat plastic pollution with fanfare and focus.

In India, the global host country launched its official countdown to June 5 with a historic slate of activities ranging from nationwide clean-ups, to single-use plastic bans across States, Universities and National Parks.

At a press conference in New Delhi, government officials outlined plans from communities large and small aimed at beating plastic pollution through civic engagement and celebration. With support from an inspiring cross section of Indian society, ranging from cricket pitches to board rooms, the scope of efforts in India represent an unprecedented national commitment to this global cause, with the promise to make this the largest and most substantial World Environment Day ever.

“Beat Plastic Pollution”, the theme for World Environment Day 2018, is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. The theme 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.

“World Environment Day is not just a celebration of the wonder of the natural world it is an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with that world and mobilize global action for causes that unite us,” Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment said. “The world is waking up to the fact that plastic pollution is one of the most urgent environmental issues of our time, but that it’s also something that we can solve. This year’s World Environment Day is therefore a call to action for all of us.”

The theme for World Environment Day 2018 is a quintessentially global one, since plastic pollution has impacted every corner of our earth by now. From the depths of the Mariana Trench to the shores of beaches in every continent, plastic is affecting all of our lives.

Across Asia, cities are showcasing art installations created from locally sourced plastic waste collected through clean-up activities. On Bali, a 5-metre traditional ogoh-ogoh statue built entirely of collected plastic waste will loom large over the beach, while in Hong Kong a giant 350-kilogram sphere of melted plastic will make landfall in Central. In Bangkok, visitors to Central World mall will be able to pass through 7 massive gates made from tens of thousands of plastic bags. Further plastic art exhibitions are planned in the Philippines, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan.

World Environment Day 2018 events at the Palais des Nations in Geneva will include a visit of the Solar Impulse Foundation’s 1000 solutions initiative and the Plastic Soup Surfer. The week before, on May 27th, Lake Geneva will undergo a drastic cleanup. To showcase exactly how plastic pollution drags down our societies, swimmers will attempt to cross the lake while carrying a symbolic amount of plastic waste with them.

North America will celebrate World Environment Day in various locations. In Vancouver, Canada, joggers will hit the streets for a first-ever “plogging” event, a Swedish trend of combining jogging with picking up trash. In New Orleans, the day is celebrated by mayors from cities along the Mississippi making policy announcement to tackle plastic pollution on their communities. The city will also see a major cleanup event, attended by politicians, celebrities, and UN Goodwill Ambassador Adrian Grenier.

In Kenya, a cleanup in Nairobi’s Kibera slum will kick off the week of World Environment Day commemorations, which will further include a beach cleanup in Mombasa and a fashion show featuring designs made from recycled plastic will highlight innovations in in the country’s western city of Kisumu.

It’s all part of an unprecedented effort that invites us 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.

Ranging from record-breaking beach cleanups to inspiring art installations the sprint to World Environment Day, launched here today will bring together interests from all parts of the globe and all sectors of society for this common cause.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

Resources for media are available here

The celebrations around World Environment Day will be broadcasted on social media:

@UNEnvironment / www.facebook.com/unenvironment.

For news, stories and events around World Environment Day and Plastic Pollution, visit: www.worldenvironmentday.global

About UN Environment:

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

About World Environment Day:

World Environment Day is the single largest celebration of our environment each year,

Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated across the globe. For more information, visit www.worldenvironmentday.global

For media inquiries, please contact:

Keith Weller, Head of News and Media, UN Environment. keith.weller@un.org