Environment day call to beat plastic pollution

Minister for Environment Parveen Kumar and students of Rishikul Sanatan College in Nasinu mark National Environment Day. Picture: FILIPE NAIGULEVU

FIJI’S Minister for Environment Parveen Kumar has called on all Fijians to come together and combat one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time – plastic pollution.
Mr Kumar made the call today during the launch of the National Environment Day celebration for the Central Division held at the Rishikul Sanatan College Hall, Nasinu, with a strong theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.
The national environment day celebration was launched with more than 200 students from the Central Division, an initiative which will be celebrated over the month of June in all divisions nationwide.
According to Mr Kumar, the celebration began with students in order to make them aware of the issues so they could be active agents for change in future.
And with the alarming statistics from Fiji’s Department of Environment that the minimum number of plastic bags used in the country annually stands around 50 to 60 million, he said the initiative was launched with the hope of effectively delivering the key message of dealing with the growing threat and risks from plastic pollution.
“The World Environment Day marks a very important day in the global calendar. And I must add even more importantly in our lives,” Mr Kumar said.
“Today, everyone globally is reminded to take ownership of their environment. Today, we are expected to actively pledge the protection of our earth.”
Since it began in 1974, the World Environment Day has grown to become a global platform for public outreach. It is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.
“This year’s World Environment Day theme: ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ is a call for all of us to come together to combat one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time.
“It’s a timely reminder to us all on the increasing magnitude of the plastic pollution faced worldwide today.”
Mr Kumar said the theme invited everyone to consider how they could make changes in their everyday lives.
“How we can take steps to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural environment, our wildlife and our own health.
“Plastic bags are one of the modern conveniences that we seem unable to live without.
“To beat plastic pollution, we need to entirely rethink our approach to designing, producing and using plastic products.”
He added for World Environment Day, the national goal was to inspire the kind of solutions that led to sustainable behavioural change.
This, Mr Kumar said would enable people to build on the national momentum to beat plastic pollution.
Following today’s national launch, the northern campaign will be launched on June 11 and the western campaign on June 18.