World grappling with plastic waste
Harare (New Ziana) -An estimated 400 million tons of plastics are produced annually throughout the world, with over 20 million tons finding their way into water bodies and other places, causing serious damage to the environment in the process.
Half of the produced plastics are designed only for one use and less than 10 percent is recycled.
Addressing guests who attended the World Environment Day commemorations held in the capital on Monday, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Raphael Faranisi said every year, 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the oceans; equating to one lorry load every minute.
“An estimated 19 to 23 million tons end up on land, in lakes, rivers and seas annually,” he said.
He said around the world one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, while up to five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year.
In total, he said, half of all plastic produced is designed for single-use purposes meaning it is used just once and then thrown away.
Faranisi said in Zimbabwe, only 10 percent of the waste generated is being recycled and this calls for more to be done to change the narrative, adding that of the total waste generated in the country, 18 percent is plastic waste hence the call to act to reduce plastic pollution.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as we celebrate World Environment Day, let us introspect on our own behaviour as a country and find lasting solutions to plastic pollution.
“Let us take heed of our political leadership messages to fight plastic pollution and invest in innovative ways to stop this menace,” he said.
He implored both global and local stakeholders to join forces in trying to address the threat of plastic pollution.
This year World Environment Day was commemorated under the theme “Solutions to Plastic Pollution”.
The day, whose objective is to create awareness and encourage efforts to protect the environment, is celebrated on June 5 of every year.