Celebrating the 50th World Environment Day
Each year, on the 5 June, we celebrate World Environment Day, along with 150 other countries. On this day, we celebrate global and local climate action and reflect on the work that is needed to create a more sustainable world.
The very first World Environment Day was held in 1973, after the UN General Assembly met to discuss environmental protection; the focus of the inaugural campaign was “only one earth” and to this day it is still celebrated with a new theme every year.
This year’s focus is plastic pollution, under the slogan #BeatPlasticPollution. According to the National Geographic, about eight million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations every year. That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world. Production of plastics can also contribute to climate change with 3.4 % of global greenhouse gas emissions coming from plastic production in 2019.
What are we doing?
We have been working to reduce unnecessary single-use plastics for five years. We formed the County Durham Single Use Plastic (SUP) Task Group in 2018, collaborating with like-minded local organisations such as Durham University, Northumbrian Water Ltd, and Beamish Museum to identify and minimise the use of single use plastics. Through their efforts, significant amounts of single-use plastic have been successfully eliminated from various service areas without disruptions to service delivery.
How can you get involved?
This global campaign is a great way to learn more about the climate and ecological emergencies, the steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and empower colleagues, friends and family to do the same.
Visit the World Environment Day solutions’ page where they share plenty of ideas to help you get involved, such as their factsheets on plastic pollution or guides for community groups and individuals.
Locally, you can see what we are doing and take part in County Durham’s plastic initiative by signing up to our award winning single use plastics pledge and from a recent report to the Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny group.