Earth Day 2024: April 22

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Ballescas - Agence France-Presse

"Planet vs. Plastics!" is the theme for this year’s April 22 Earth Day!

Expect reminders about each one’s role/contribution to protecting our people and planet, not just on this day but every day!

These calls: “Join us to honor/celebrate our remarkable planet on this extraordinary day – Earth Day – a reminder of the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability, encouraging us to come together and take action for a healthier planet and brighter future.”

“Find the leader in you, in each of us and celebrate and make every day Earth Day.”

These repeated warnings: “Plastics are a danger to humanity and all living creatures, disrupting the delicate balance of life on earth.”

From Denis Hayes of EARTHDAY.ORG: “Plastics extend beyond an imminent environmental issue; they present a grave threat to human health as alarming as climate change.

“As plastics break down into microplastics, they release toxic chemicals into our food/ water sources and circulate through the air we breathe.

“Plastic production now has grown to more than 380 million tons per year. More plastic has been produced in the last ten years than in the entire 20th century.

“All this plastic was produced by a petrochemical industry with an abysmal record of toxic emissions, spills, and explosions.

“Some plastics are lethal when combusted; other plastics transmit hormone-disrupting chemicals; and all plastics can starve birds and suffocate sea life. At every stage of their life cycles, from the oil well to the town dump, plastics are a dangerous blight.

“More than 500 billion plastic bags --one million bags per minute-- were produced worldwide last year. Many plastic bags have a working life of a few minutes, followed by an afterlife of centuries.

“Even after plastics disintegrate, they remain as microplastics, minute particles permeating every niche of life on the planet.

“Making a plastic water bottle requires six times as much water as the bottle itself contains.

“The fast fashion industry annually produces over 100 billion garments. Approximately 85% of garments end up in landfills or incinerators, with only 1% being recycled.

“Nearly 70% of clothing is made from crude oil, resulting in the release of dangerous microfibers when washed and continued contribution to long-term pollution.”

And these demands: “rapidly phase out all single use plastics (SUPs), urgently push for a strong UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution, and, call for an end to fast fashion. Invest in innovative technologies and materials to build a plastic-free world.”

“Planet vs. Plastics “calls for the end of plastics for the sake of human and planetary health, demanding a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040 and an ultimate goal of building a plastic-free future for generations to come.

“To achieve a 60% reduction by 2040, Earthday.Org, aims to: (1) promote widespread public awareness of the damage done by plastic to human, animal, and all biodiversity’s health and demanding more research be conducted on its health implications, including the release of any and all information regarding its effects to the public; (2) rapidly phase out all single use plastics by 2030 and achieving this phase out commitment in the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution in 2024; (3) demand policies ending the scourge of fast fashion and the vast amount of plastic it produces and uses; and (4) investing in innovative technologies and materials to build a plastic-free world.”

Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) reported that “the Philippines contributed a third of the total sachet plastic waste collected in four Asian countries in 2023 and called on multinational corporations to phase out sachets, single-use packaging, and reveal data on plastic use, to invest in reuse, refill, or packaging-free product delivery systems” and “to help solve the problem their products create.” (Marian Ledesma of Greenpeace Philippines)

Let us all unite to protect people/planet from plastics!

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