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November 15, 2018

Let’s take concrete action to beat Plastic Pollution!

By Zarche Hla Than (Environmental Conservation Department)

World Environment Day (WED) is held every year on June 5 around the world. The WED was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 on the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Thus it has been 46 years since WED was held in 1972, and it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated across the world.

History
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was formed with the aim of coordinating the environmental activities among the nations and organizations, and assisting the countries in providing technical assistance, sound policies and practices.
Since its inception in 1974, the UNEP has celebrated for the first time with a slogan, and developed into a global platform for raising awareness and taking action on increasingly urgent issues from marine pollution and global warming to sustainable consumption. Since 1987, the UNEP has been marked World Environment Day in many cities across the world. India is the global host of 2018 World Environment Day this year.
Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. Every year we use up to 500 billion plastic bags. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use.
There are so many things that we can do – from asking the restaurants you frequent to stop using plastic straws, to bringing your own coffee mug to work, to pressuring your local authorities to improve how they manage your city’s waste.
Nearly one third of the plastic packaging we use escapes collection systems, which means that it ends up clogging our city streets and polluting our natural environment.
Every year, up to 8 million tons of plastic may leak into our oceans, where it smothers coral reefs and threatens vulnerable marine wildlife.
According to the record conducted in 2010, it has shown that the plastic that stores in the ground can persist from 500-100 years whereas the plastic that ends up in the oceans can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates.
Plastic also makes its way into our water supply – and thus into our bodies because plastics contain a number of chemicals, many of which are toxic or disrupt hormones, and it can also serve as a magnet for other pollutants, including dioxins, metals and pesticides.

Plastic Pollution
Plastic pollution is regarded as one of the greatest threats to ocean health in the world. According to the 2010 records, it’s estimated that plastic waste between 4.8-12.7 million tons of plastic waste can enter the oceans each year — enough to cover every foot of coastline on the planet.
In the ocean, plastic pollution can impact countless marine species, habitats, coastlines and beautiful beaches worldwide.
One of the reasons that plastic pollution is such a problem is that it doesn’t go away for many years. Instead, plastic debris simply breaks down into ever-smaller particles, known as micro plastics, whose environmental impacts are still being determined.
Everyone can do something to reduce the amount of plastic that enters the ocean. It is difficult for us to stop waste production entirely, but we can make a significant contribution to save energy and natural resources, and can reduce pollution.

Ways To Reduce Pollution
3 Rs —Reducing, Reusing and Recycling
Reducing—Try to reduce the amount of waste you produce, as this is the best way to help the environment!
Reusing— Think of ways you could reuse something, like shredding paper for your hamster rather than buying bedding or saving glass jars for storage.

Recycling
This can enable the materials you throw away to be used again by making them into new products.

National-level Waste Items Management Policy and Strategy
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation has performed emphatically the tasks of reducing the climate change, fighting against the formation of deserts, conservation of different biological
species.
The Ministry has drawn up a National-level Waste Items Management Policy and Strategy (2017-2030), with a view towards supporting city-level strategies and actions, so that it can serve as a principal framework for waste policies and practices across the country. The national-level environmental policy covers three strategic areas — clean environment and health, functioning ecosystems, sustainable development and mainstreaming environmental protection and management.

Beat Plastic Pollution
Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2018, “Beat Plastic Pollution,” is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time.
It’s time for us to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health.
While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences.
The World Environment Day is a United Nations-led annual event aimed at bringing awareness to the destructive effects of natural resource extraction pollution and the need to protect biodiversity.
It is a day of everyone around the globe and it is celebrate with the aim of actively participating in the protecting of our earth. Moreover the World Environment Day is a day of everyone around the world to take ownership of their environment and to actively engage in the protection of our earth.
Efforts should be made to focus on environment conditions and encourage people to be the active part of positive changes in the earth’s environment to ensure its safe future. Hence cooperation is of vital importance to take a concrete action to beat Plastic Pollution.
Let’s all help to clean up our environment!

Translated by William Ko

References:
(1) www.wekipedia.com
(2) vietnamnews.vn (21.04.2018)
(3) Manual on Environment and Climate Change
(4) Editorials from the Global New Light of Myanmar 2013, 2014 and 2015

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