The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

World Environment Day – “beating plastic pollution”

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Event date: 
05 Jun 2018

This year’s World Environment Day is fast approaching. 5 June 2018 will be the UN's most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and local action for the protection of our environment. Since it began, the World Environment Day has grown to become a global platform for public outreach. It’s widely celebrated in over 100 countries. But, above all, World Environment Day is a "people's day" for doing something to take care of the Earth.

That "something" can be focused locally, nationally or globally; it can be a single action or involve a crowd. Everyone is free to choose. Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2018 is “beating plastic pollution”.

A 2009 study from the Ministry for the Environment estimated New Zealand households to dispose of 18.6 kilograms of plastic per year from curb side waste only –that’s approximately 12 bags of pre-packed apples from the grocery store.

In 2017, Sea Life Trust found: &lsquoKiwis use 673 million supermarket single-use shopping bags every year - enough to cover half of Otago if laid flat - according to new research.’ (Ged Cann,, Environmental group rubbishes stats used by Government to estimate impact of plastic bags.) They also found, 541 million straws thrown away every year and 105 million single-use bottles used every year.

Based on the commitments of the plastic agenda, we sincerely urge you to “reduce, reuse, and recycle. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it”.

The #BeatPlasticPollution movement/challenge is an opportunity to showcase that individuals and communities alike can play a pivotal role in the fight against plastic pollution.

Joining the movement is simple:

  1. Plan a cleanup: on 5 June, we encourage individuals and local communities to go to their nearest riverbank, beach, public space to clean up the plastic pollution.
  2. Register: by registering your event on the global map, you will be able to highlight the contributions NZ is making to the world. To register all planned events please click on the link below:

During Pope Francis’ Pontifcate he has highlighted the importance of humanity’s care for, and interconnectedness with, the natural environment. The environment and human beings are all affected by the crises of climate change, waste, pollution and misuse of natural resources. And everyone must act responsibly to save our world. Let’s as Pope Francis says in Laudato Si’ get away from waste, pollution and a throwaway culture. “Education in environmental responsibility can encourage ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us, such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices. All of these reflect a generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings. Reusing something instead of immediately discarding it, when done for the right reasons, can be an act of love which expresses our own dignity” Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ (211).

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