Ivory Coast to host World Environment Day in 2023 to focus on solutions to plastic pollution

Nairobi/Abidjan, February 2, 2023 – The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Côte d’Ivoire announced today that Côte d’Ivoire will host World Environment Day 2023 on June 5, with the theme solutions against plastic pollution.

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of World Environment Day, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. Over the past five decades, today has become one of the world’s largest platforms for raising environmental awareness. Tens of millions of people around the world participate in activities, events and promotions online and in person.

“The scourge of plastic pollution is a visible threat and has a significant negative impact on every community around the world,” said Ivorian Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development Jean-Luc Assi. “As the host of World Environment Day 2023, we invite all sectors: governments, businesses and civil societies to come together to find and advocate for solutions. »

Côte d’Ivoire has banned the use of plastic bags since 2014, supporting the transition to reusable packaging. The country’s largest city, Abidjan, has also become a center for startups that want to eliminate plastic pollution.

More than 400 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide each year, half of which is single-use, and less than 10% of the total is recycled. It is estimated that 19-23 million tons of plastic are discharged into lakes, rivers and oceans.

Microplastics, small plastic particles up to 5 mm in diameter, are found in food, water and air. It is estimated that every person on the planet consumes more than 50,000 plastic particles per year, and even more if we consider the inhalation of airborne particles. Thrown away or incinerated, single-use plastic harms human health and biodiversity, and pollutes entire ecosystems, from mountain tops to the bottom of oceans.

Governments, businesses and other stakeholders must scale up and accelerate action to address this crisis, building on the science and available solutions to address the problem. This underscores the importance of this World Environment Day in mobilizing transformative action around the world.

This year, World Environment Day will be supported by the Dutch government, which is among the countries taking ambitious steps throughout the life cycle of plastics. It is a signatory to the Global Commitment to a New Plastic Economy and a member of the Global Partnership Against Plastic Pollution and Marine Litter. The Dutch government is also a member of the High Ambition coalition, which calls for a strong and ambitious, legally binding international instrument to combat plastic pollution.

“Plastic pollution and its negative effects on health, the economy and the environment cannot be ignored. Urgent action is needed. At the same time, we need real, effective and robust solutions,” said Dutch Environment Minister Vivianne Heijnen. “As part of several policies targeting plastics, the Netherlands and the European Union as a whole are fully committed to reducing the production and consumption of single-use plastics, which can and should be replaced by sustainable alternatives. »

The announcement follows a resolution adopted by the United Nations Environment Assembly in 2022 to draft a legally binding document on plastic pollution, including the marine environment, with negotiations to be completed by the end of 2024. The first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-1) was held in Uruguay in December 2022, and the second meeting is expected to be held in May 2023 in Paris. The tool will be based on a life-cycle approach to plastics.

“We must seize every opportunity and engage with all stakeholders to tackle the plastic problem comprehensively,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen. “Côte d’Ivoire and the Netherlands are among the countries tackling this challenge and embracing the benefits of a circular plastic economy.” The fiftieth anniversary of World Environment Day is an opportunity for all governments, businesses, community groups and individuals to join the momentum. »

The hashtag and slogan for the World Environment Day 2023 campaign will be #Fight PlasticPollution.


About World Environment Day

World Environment Day is the main tool used by the United Nations to promote environmental awareness and action around the world. Held annually since 1973, the day has become a key platform for promoting progress on the environmental aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals. Led by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), more than 150 countries participate in the Day every year. Large corporations, non-governmental organizations, communities, governments and celebrities from all over the world adopt the World Environment Day brand to fight environmental causes.

About the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

UNEP is the world’s leading environmental agency. The organization demonstrates leadership and promotes partnerships to protect the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and humanity to improve their quality of life without compromising the future of generations.

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This was reported by the press service of the UN Environment Program

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