World Environment Day
World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5th annually, aims to highlight the importance of connecting with the planet and its natural resources, while emphasizing pressing matters of environmental concern. Ecosystem services such as clean air and water are often taken for granted, and ecosystems are often threatened by pollution, climate change or over-exploitation. The need to protect and appreciate the environment is now more important than ever, and it will require a collaborative effort from all members of society to ensure the sustainability of the natural systems around us.
The 2018 theme for World Environment Day is: Beat Plastic Pollution
This year’s theme for World Environment Day focuses on the need to reduce the use of single-use plastics and disposable plastic products, which often end up contributing to the problem of pollution on land and in water bodies. In order to beat plastic pollution, each individual will have to make changes in their lifestyle, as the over-reliance on plastic products has led to environmental issues, which also affect human health. It is important for us to beat plastic pollution because the plastics remain in the environment for very long periods before being broken down, in addition to releasing harmful chemicals into the environment during their gradual photodecomposition. These effects have a great impact on the quality of our soil and water resources, which are used not only to grow the food that humans consume, but also affects the ecosystem on a whole.
What Can You Do?
On World Environment Day this year, there will be a screening of the movie “A Plastic Ocean” at the Finance Administrative Centre, Point Seraphine. This is an engaging documentary about researchers and scientists embarking on an adventure around the world, to observe and discover shocking truths about plastic pollution. It is important for the public to be educated and informed about the effects of our collective actions on our environment. Even small actions can collectively make a great impact, and minor changes in our everyday lives can help to reduce those effects.
We as a Saint Lucian society should also support the various organisations which aim to conserve and protect our natural resources, including the Caribbean Youth Environmental Network (CYEN), the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT), the Youth Emergency Action Committee (YEAC), the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, and the Department of Sustainable Development. Volunteering and participating in events aimed at promoting environmental awareness is one of the actions we can all take to make the positive difference for ourselves and future generations.