The world is swimming in plastic.
Every year, humanity produces some 400 million tonnes of this material, only about 9 per cent of which will ultimately be recycled. Much of the rest ends up in the environment, where it does everything from polluting soil to poisoning fish, according to research from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Given that plastic can take up to a thousand years to decompose, young people will bear the weight of this problem. But they can also be part of the solution, say experts. By engaging youth and raising awareness about the challenge, campaigners can bring about a generational shift in the way humanity consumes and disposes of plastics.
In the first episode of UNEP’s Uncommon Ground web series, host Juan Pablo Garcia is joined by two panelists – Franco Noriega, a Peruvian entrepreneur, and Elizabeth Wathuti, a Kenyan environmental activist. They discuss how plastic pollution contributes to the triple planetary crisis and what youth can do to change this.
Youth engagement is at the heart of the Transforming Education Summit to be held in New York during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) from 16 to 19 September 2022. Check out the video below to watch the full episode and learn more about how UNEP is working to combat plastic pollution.
To fight the pervasive impact of pollution on society, UNEP launched #BeatPollution, a strategy for rapid, large-scale and coordinated action against air, land and water pollution. The strategy highlights the impact of pollution on climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and human health. Through science-based messaging, the campaign showcases how transitioning to a pollution-free planet is vital for future generations.