By Teslyn Heron
‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ is the theme for this year’s World Environment Day (June 5) and Canadian Environment Week (June 3-9), which explores the concept of how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce plastic pollution in our environment and combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. This theme encourages all of us to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our environment.
Globally, 5 trillion plastic bags are used each year and 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean. 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastics each year, and 83% of tap water and 90% of bottled water contain plastic particles. Plastic pollution is an issue that affects not only ecosystems, but wildlife and humans, as well.
World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5th and is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries around the world.
World Environment Day 2018, ‘Beat Plastic Pollution,’ encourages change in four key areas: reducing single-use plastics, improving waste management, phasing out microplastics, and promoting research into alternatives to plastic dependency.
Here in Muskoka, The District Municipality of Muskoka operates a comprehensive waste diversion program to reduce the amount of divertible material entering our landfill and to preserve valuable landfill space. Over 1,100 tonnes of plastics were collected in 2017 in Muskoka, but we can do better! Choose reusable mugs and bottles rather than styrofoam or plastic, say no to single use plastics like straws and plastic shopping bags, and if you have no choice about these “one-time-only” products, always recycle them.
To learn more about World Environment Day, how you can help reduce your plastic dependency and how to protect your local ecosystems and wildlife from this issue, please visit the World Environment Day website at http://worldenvironmentday.global/en.