World Environment Day was established in 1973 by the United Nations. The host country for the event changes every year to give other countries the opportunity to bring this global celebration to their people. It is observed every 5th of June as a way for the United Nations to promote awareness and encourage action for the protection and preservation of our environment. This 2018, the host nation of World Environment Day was India. However, in Latin America and the Caribbean, the UN designated Peru as regional headquarters.
According to El Peruano, “This year, the world will come together to combat plastic pollution under the slogan ‘A planet Without Contamination by Plastics’, through which seeks to raise public and private sectors, as well as citizens, in need of reducing the production and excessive use of disposable plastics that pollute the oceans, damage marine life and threaten health.”
The theme of this year’s World Environment Day was “Beat Plastic Pollution” with the central theme of “No Pollution By Plastic.” This theme aims to create awareness of the harmful effects of plastic pollution and how the everyday choices people make can help reduce the problem.
Wildlife Monitoring project in Heath River Wildlife Center
The Plastic Pollution Global Crisis
To date, an estimated 8.3bn tonnes of virgin plastic has been produced. Because only a small percentage of plastic is recycled or incinerated, the majority of plastic waste accumulates in landfills or worse, the natural environment. It is predicted that roughly 12bn tonnes of plastic waste will end up in landfills or the natural environment by 2050.
Of the accumulated plastic waste, much of it is plastic drink bottles. In fact, in 2016 alone, some 480bn plastic bottles were sold globally. Less than 50% were collected for recycling, and a mere 7% turned into new bottles. However, the problem is more than just plastic drink bottles; plastic waste includes plastic straws, plastic bags, plastic food containers, and so on.
World Environment Day’s mission is to get the global community to change the way they think about plastic and to eliminate it from their lives ultimately. Little things like choosing paper over plastic, bringing an eco bag to the market, or rejecting plastic straws and spoons and forks.
Peru’s Solution to Plastic Pollution
One of Peru’s most innovative recycling campaigns is “Trash is not garbage.” The campaign has already turned a million plastic bottles into thousands of ponchilas. It is a clever combination of a poncho and mochila or a backpack with a built-in poncho. The ponchos not only go to an initiative that protects the most impoverished children of the Andes but to ultimately save the planet; each ponchila is made of 80 recycled plastic bottles.
They are distributed to the children in the provinces of Cusco, Puno, Ayacucho, Apurímac, Huancavelica, and Arequipa. Since 2017, the project had already produced 6,000 ponchos; and another 7,000 made this year.
This 2018, the Ministry of Environment of Peru joined the campaign, saying “With this initiative what we are doing is closing the circle, using our waste and giving them an added value through recycling.”
Jaguar Monitoring Program in Manu area
It is important to be aware that when you travel with InkaNatura Travel you are part of the people doing their share to protect ecosystems in Tambopata and Manu as part of the profit goes to Peru Verde conservation projects.