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World Environment Day 2023

#BeatPlasticPollution

The first World Environment Day was held in 1973. Since then, it has grown to be a significant event, celebrated worldwide and hosting thousands of activities around environmental topics.

This year, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day, we welcome the theme #BeatPlasticPollution.

According to the United Nations (UN), more than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced yearly, worldwide. Less than 10% of all plastic produced is recycled, and half of it (200 million tonnes) is in fact single-use plastic.

It is estimated that 19-23 million tonnes of plastic end up in lakes, rivers, and seas, annually.

Apart from the direct impact on natural ecosystems and wildlife, plastic also has a negative influence on human health.

Microplastics – small plastic particles up to 5mm in diameter – find their way into food, water, and air. People can ingest more than 50 thousand plastic particles in one year!

 

Taking part

Everyone is called to participate, learn about this issue, and change one’s behavior when applicable and possible.

Our project specialist, Kika Gusmão, tells us about a recent event she attended to do litter picking and control invasive species.

Kika tells us this was the largest volunteer-led event happening in this urban forest called Monsanto, in Lisbon. Around 500 volunteers gathered to help take care of the public forest, having picked 3,700 Kg (8,157.10 Lbs) of non-organic litter. This successful event was the result of a partnership between a Portuguese social responsibility organization, EPIS, an environmental group, Quercus, and Lisbon’s Municipality.

“It was a morning’s work centered around teamwork and public service. We benefit a lot from this forest; people call it “Lisbon’s lung” as it plays an important role in purifying the air and lowering the average temperature within the city. By cleaning and maintaining the forest, we are giving back to it and allowing those of tomorrow to benefit from it, too”, says Kika.

 

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