Ocean pollution naja bertolt jensen IUBc0cxN7Lc unsplash

OPINION: End plastic pollution

Those days when we filled supermarket plastic bags with our groceries seem like a distant memory.

Here in Aotearoa NZ we’ve been making small, and I like to think, meaningful steps to phase out single-use plastic  bags. Even at the fruit and veggie sections it’s now paper bags only – good move!

But we know there is so much more we could do and on World Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, the message is clear – it’s the Planet v Plastic!

The planet is drowning in plastic, a powerful image indeed. And a scary image! Plastics are a danger to humanity and all living creatures, disrupting the delicate balance of life on Earth.

The Geneva Charter for Wellbeing states in the first of its five areas of coordinated action to create wellbeing societies that: ‘A healthy planet is essential for the health and well-being of current and future generations and for enabling all to flourish.’

World Earth Day reminds us of this, and the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability, encouraging us to come together and take action for a healthier planet and brighter future.

This year’s theme focuses on one of the biggest threats to planetary health. Plastic pollution is causing catastrophic damage to the planet and to all those that depend on it for their survival

Earthday.Org which grew out of the first Earth Day in 1970 emphasises that for the sake of human and planetary health we must be unwavering in our commitment to end plastics.

The movement which works with more than 150,000 partners in over 192 countries to drive positive action for our planet is demanding a 60% reduction in the production of ALL plastics by 2040.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The theme calls to advocate for widespread awareness on the health risk of plastics, rapidly phase out all single-use plastics, urgently push for a strong UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution, and demand an end to fast fashion. 

There is also a call to invest in innovative technologies and materials to build a plastic-free world.

According to the UN Environment Programme we have become addicted to single-use plastic products — with severe environmental, social, economic and health consequences.

‘Plastics including microplastics are now ubiquitous in our natural environment. They are becoming part of the Earth's fossil record and a marker of the Anthropocene, our current geological era. They have even given their name to a new marine microbial habitat called the "plastisphere".’ Read more about plastic pollution HERE.

It’s easy to become complacent!  Just because we might not be using single-use plastic bags from the supermarket anymore doesn’t mean we stop there. 

We can all take steps to contribute to ridding the world of plastics, and adopting new ways and methods to replace them. See how you can get involved in the war against plastic HERE.

Join us as we build a plastic-free planet for generations to come!

- By Lavinia Kavu Ngatoko

Banner Photo by Naja Bertolt Jensen on Unsplash