28 Sep 2017 Press release Chemicals & waste

UN Environment charts path towards a pollution-free planet

Geneva, 28 September 2017 –  Outlining the many ways in which the world can move to a healthier, more sustainable way of living, UN Environment today launched “Towards a pollution-free planet”, a report that serves as a call to action to governments, businesses, local authorities, civil society and individuals to prevent and reduce pollution, and clean up the planet.  

The report comes ahead of the United Nations Environment Assembly, to be held on 4-6 December 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya under the overarching theme of pollution.

UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim said: "Pollution is a universal challenge that threatens wildlife, devastates ecosystems, and kills millions of people every year. But the good news is that we already know what we need to do to prevent and reduce it, and clean up the planet. Now the responsibility is on governments, businesses, cities and local authorities, civil society and individuals around the world to commit to act to beat pollution in all its forms. This report explains how it can be done."

The report conveys five overarching messages:

  • A global compact on pollution would make pollution prevention a priority for all.
  • Environmental governance needs to be strengthened at all levels.
  • Sustainable consumption and production, through improved resource efficiency and lifestyle changes, should be promoted; waste reduction and management must be prioritized.
  • Investment in cleaner production and consumption will help to counter pollution.
  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaborations are vital for the innovation, knowledge-sharing and transdisciplinary research needed to develop technological and ecosystems- based solutions.

“Towards a pollution-free planet” reiterates that pollution is controllable and avoidable, and emphasizes the role of multilateral environmental agreements, including on climate change, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its numerous pollution-reducing targets. The report is launched during the first Conference of Parties for the Minamata Convention which addresses mercury issues and is a major agreement to protect human health and the environment.

It further proposes 50 focused and actionable interventions to address pollution in all its forms, such as moving to electric mobility; treating, recycling, reusing wastewater to reduce discharge in freshwater bodies; and advancing safer alternatives for toxic chemicals though sustainability chemistry.

With these concrete examples, UN Environment seeks to empower governments, businesses, civil society organizations and individuals to take a stand against pollution, as well as take action to #BeatPollution by making a voluntary commitment on the UN Environment website.

Towards a Pollution-Free Planet

The report is available for download here.

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, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world. Find out more at http://unep.org/

UN Environment Assembly

The UN Environment Assembly, the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment, will gather in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4-6 December 2017 under the overarching theme of pollution.


Join people around the world in committing to #BeatPollution