Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of United Nations, says oceans in the world would have more plastics than fish by 2050 if the use of plastics across the world continues unchecked.
Guterres, in his message to mark this year World Environment Day with the theme ” Beat the Plastic Pollution, an environmental, social and economic concern,” said the “world is currently swamped by harmful plastic water, noting that micro-plastics in the seas now outnumber stars in our galaxy.”
According to him, eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans every year, noting that from the remote islands to the Artic, nowhere is untouched by the presence of plastics.
The UN Chief further remarked that a healthy planet is essential for a prosperous future, and that ” we all have a role to play in protecting our only home.”
He added that it can be difficult to know what to or where to start saying, ” that’s why the World Environment Day has just one request: Beat Plastic Pollution.”
Guterres said the message to the world on the celebration of the environment day is ” reject single use of plastic, refuse what you can re-use.”
“Together we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world,” he added.
The World Environment Day was initiated in 1974 by UN to mount campaign for safe and clean environment.
In her message, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, lamented that nearly one-third of the plastic packaging ”we use bypasses collection systems and ends up polluting our environment.”
She said the amount of this waste has increased a hundredfolds in the Pacific Ocean, to the point of forming what is now called the “seventh continent” of plastic, a vast garbage patch swirling around in the North Pacific, the size of one-third of the United States of America.
Azoulay added that while ocean plastic pollution is primarily a threat to marine ecosystems, it is also a danger to human health as plastic waste enters the food chain.
These risks, she explained, have increasingly attracted attention from policy-makers, the private sector, environmental NGOs, the media and the scientific community.
UNESCO said over 500billion plastic bags are used each year across the world