World Environment Day (WED) is the biggest, most globally celebrated day for positive environmental action. Through WED, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) enables everyone to realise not only the responsibility to care for the Earth, but also reminds one and all of their individual power to become agents of change. Every action counts, and when multiplied by a global chorus, becomes exponential in its impact.
WED is a big celebration, engaging millions across the globe through events on the ground in over 70 countries. Every year, participants, young and old, organise clean-up campaigns, art exhibits, tree-planting drives, and concerts, dance recitals, recycling drives, social media campaigns and different contests themed around caring for the planet.
World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanising individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponentially positive impact on the planet.
WED is also a day for people from all walks of life to come together to ensure a cleaner, greener and brighter outlook for themselves and future generations. World Environment Day is marked annually on 5 June as per the declaration of the United Nations in 1972.
Each World Environment Day is organised around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2018 is “beating plastic pollution”.
The “Beat Plastic Pollution theme urges governments, industry, communities and individuals to come together and explore sustainable alternatives and urgently reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic products polluting our environment and oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health. It is quite evident that littering and illegal dumping are some of the most common problems in South Africa affecting all provinces alike irrespective of the size and extent of the area.
The success of beating plastic pollution demands that every citizen takes part in ensuring that pollution is prevented towards combating plastic pollution. The DEA has a national waste awareness Mascot “Billy Bin”’ which is aimed at being an image which will send a strong message to all citizens to ensure that they keep their environment clean as previously, concurrent to that the President of South Africa has called on all South Africans to start cleaning up their neighbourhoods.
This is a concept that has been practiced successfully in Rwanda and have proven to be an effective initiative given that Kigali is now known as “Africa’s cleanest city”. All Municipalities and South African Citizens can learn a lot from such an initiative and we can all be part of beating the plastic pollution.