During an event held at the UN headquarters in New York, the UN chief issued an appeal in a video message to mark World Environment Day, which is commemorated annually on the fifth day of June. This year's theme is centered on "Solutions to Plastic Pollution."
According to Guterres, the annual global production of plastic exceeds 400 million tons, with approximately one-third of this quantity designated for single-use purposes. Guterres also said that, on a daily basis, the equivalent of over 2,000 garbage trucks worth of plastic are dumped into 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," Guterres said, adding that "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." However, Guterres said that there are solutions.
1. Over 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced globally annually, with ⅓ used just once and less than 10% recycled.
"About 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers & seas annually - about the weight of 2,200 Eiffel Towers," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. pic.twitter.com/kvZat2sD4f
According to Guterres, last year, efforts were undertaken by the international community to engage in deliberations leading up to the creation of a binding agreement aimed at eradicating plastic pollution.
"A new report by the UN Environment Programme shows that we can reduce plastic pollution by 80 percent by 2040 if we act now to reuse, recycle, reorient, and diversify away from plastics," Guterres said.
In his speech Guterres called for concerted action stating: "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."