Consequences from Plastic Pollution Catastrophic, but Solutions Possible ‘If We Act Now’, Secretary-General Stresses in Message on World Environment Day

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World Environment Day, observed 5 June:

This World Environment Day is a call to beat plastic pollution.

Every year, over 400 million tons of plastic is produced worldwide — one third of which is used just once.  Every day, the equivalent of over 2,000 garbage trucks full of plastic is dumped into our oceans, rivers and lakes.

The consequences are catastrophic.  Microplastics find their way into the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.  Plastic is made from fossil fuels — the more plastic we produce, the more fossil fuel we burn, and the worse we make the climate crisis.

But we have solutions.  Last year, the global community began negotiating a legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution.  This is a promising first step, but we need all hands on deck.

A new report by the United Nations Environment Programme shows that we can reduce plastic pollution by 80 per cent by 2040 if we act now to reuse, recycle, reorient and diversify away from plastics.

We must work as one — Governments, companies, and consumers alike — to break our addiction to plastics, champion zero waste and build a truly circular economy.  Together, let us shape a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable future for all.

For information media. Not an official record.