World Environment Day 2023 prompts solution to plastic pollution

The theme for World Environment Day 2023, ‘Solutions to Plastic Pollution’ is a command for the world, including Guyana, to find solutions to the pressing issue of plastic pollution and address them head-on.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips highlighted the point while addressing scores of Guyanese at the National Park tarmac Sunday morning, following a Green Walk and Exhibition held in observance of World Environment Day.

The walk stretched from Camp Street to the National Park and was hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to raise awareness about the impact of plastic pollution globally.

Prime Minister Phillips during the walk on Sunday morning

“Each year, a theme is chosen for World Environment Day. Five years ago, the theme was ‘beating plastic pollution.’ This year, it is ‘solutions to plastic pollution.’ The fact that five years onward, we have returned to the issue of plastic pollution signifies that plastic pollution remains a major obstacle in global efforts to preserve and protect the planet and its people,” PM Phillips pointed out.

He noted that the government has hosted several clean up campaigns to ensure the environment is well-kept, and to encourage persons to reduce garbage in public spaces.

The prime minister emphasised that he is discouraged by the amount of garbage that is found every time.

This, he added, is due to indiscriminate littering, which is a monumental problem in Guyana.

“We have been forewarned by the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) that the world is headed for an environmental apocalypse. And here again, plastic is a major culprit. UNEP estimates that plastic constitutes about 85 per cent of all marine litter, and much of this washes back to land. They also estimate that for every three feet of coastline, more than 100 pounds of litter is deposited each year. Plastic is not biodegradable, and therefore, when it is indiscriminately disposed of, it pollutes the environment,” PM Phillips explained.

He also pointed out that plastic clogs drainage canals, alleyways, culverts, and kokers; finding its way into our rivers and ocean and endangering aquatic and marine life, and contaminating sources of water used for drinking, cleaning, and cooking.

PM Phillips stated that persons who choose to litter are consistently and consciously making the wrong choice, and as such, the government is seriously pushing to eradicate plastic pollution in Guyana.

“We have to start a public campaign, beginning in our schools, to emphasise the need to bring an end to pollution. Public education is important. People need to be told, again, that it is not okay to throw away plantain chip bags on the streets…it is not okay to throw items out of their car windows or in our drains.”

He stressed the need for current anti-pollution laws to be enforced by local authorities and the Environmental Protection Agency so that polluters can be sanctioned for their actions.