JAM | Jun 5, 2023

It’s World Environment Day: Five tips to help reduce plastic pollution

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Environmentalists around the world are today (June 5) commemorating the inaugural World Environment Day, a day that is designated to spread awareness about the harmful impacts of improper waste management on the environment and human health to promote global action to protect the environment.

The day is led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) annually on June 5 as a global outreach programme.

Each year, some 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow annually into oceans. More than 800 marine and coastal species are affected by this pollution through ingestion, entanglement and other dangers. If the current practices of improper plastic disposal are not addressed, this may pose a major threat to the sustainability of the environment, the economy and lives.

World Environment Day 2023 is being observed under the theme ‘Solutions to Plastic Pollution’, a public campaign to tackle plastic pollution.

Say no to single-use plastics

Become a part of the solution by limiting the use of single-use plastics such as plastic straws, styrofoam containers, cups and other single-use plastics.


Get into the habit of recycling and reusing. Plastics make up a large portion of waste materials, therefore it is important to limit the use of plastic as best as possible.

One such way is to get into the habit of recycling plastic bottles, containers and other materials at home. Encourage your children to get into the habit of recycling as well by coming up with creative ways to reward them for partaking in the recycling activity.

Likewise, when going to the grocery store, take a reusable bag to prevent the need to buy a new which can also cut back on costs. Adopt reusable cups, water bottles and travel cutlery.

Cook more

Instead of eating out at a restaurant, prepare a nutritious meal at home that will help to reduce single-use containers.
This is not only good for the environment but also for your health because you now have greater control over how your food is prepared. Thus, limiting your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Reduce travel waste

Tourists similar to locals produce a substantial amount of waste that can be both costly and hard to manage. When travelling avoid using single-use plastics as much as possible.

Travel with a reusable water container and boycott products that come with extra packaging.

If possible, utilize paperless transactions by carrying out transactions online instead of using a receipt.

The world is currently moving towards a digital society therefore many transactions can be done on your smartphone or tablet, and you can also download receipts on these devices for future reference.

Volunteer to participate in beach or river clean up

Volunteers at Sirgarny Beach in Kingston during ICC 2021. Plastic and other garbage from gullies and waterways float across the Kingston Harbour ending up on its surrounding coastlines. (Photo contributed)

In order to create a sustainable environment for the future generation we all have a role to play in the fight against plastic use.

Participate in a beach or river clean-up to lend a helping hand to reduce the risk of plastic waste getting into our oceans and rivers.

The government and other non-government organizations cannot do it alone. Everyone has a role to play in the fight against plastic pollution. It all starts at the individual level by taking individual steps to limit single-plastic use by recycling and reusing.

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