The World Environmental Day also focuses on plastic

The World Environmental Day also focuses on plastic

May 31, 2018

The World Environmental Day also focuses on plastic

For the 2018 edition, the day's theme echoes the Earth Day: reducing the amount of plastic-based waste, an emergency that can no longer wait.

"If you can’t reuse it, refuse it" this is the playful slogan of the 2018 edition of the World Environmental Day, celebrated each 5 June, since 1972.

 Just like Earth Day, the main focus of this event is also about reducing plastic waste: every year over 500 billion plastic bags are used in the world, and over 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute. The ensuing environmental damage is huge. Over 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in the oceans. This is equivalent to a truckload of rubbish in the sea every minute. 

This year, India is the host of the World Environmental Day: the country is currently becoming one of the world's leaders for recycling, as the two stories below powerfully show.

Women on the front line to clean the city

The city of Pune, in western India, boasts the first national all-female cooperative for rubbish collection. Following an agreement with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), over 3,000 workers supply a door to door service to more than 600,000 households, recycling over 50,000 tons of rubbish per year.

"SWaCH" (Solid Waste Collection and Handling, as the cooperative is named), promotes a new sustainable model for waste disposal. One of its projects developed a composting methodology to turn food waste into natural fertilizers. Its environmental impact is significant. In one year, SWaCH paper recycling prevents over 350,000 from being felled and over 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide from being released. Its social benefits are also huge: SWaCH is active in the town's slums, where over 1.2 million people live.


The long march to Delhi

Rajeshwari Singh is a thirty-two year old from Vadodara, western India. She is heading for Delhi, covering the 1,000 km distance on foot. She began her journey on 22 April, and in the next six weeks she will walk through more than twenty cities with her 'zero plastic' motto. Singh has a dual objective: on one hand, she wants to raise awareness on improper use of plastic among the people she will meet along the way. On the other, she wants to use this opportunity to raise funds for her organization, the Caravan Classroom. For the last 10 years, Singh has not used any type of plastic, and with this new challenge she wants to inspire the people she meets to do like her. In these first weeks Singh has encountered a few challenges, but has stuck to her goals. Since she only drinks running water, Singh was able to observe how water has a different taste in each city and each village. A subtle difference she would have never been able to appreciate if she had been buying bottled water.

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