The planet is literally drowning in garbage, and it’s high time to clean it up, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Thursday on the first-ever International Zero Waste Day.
The UN organized a high-level meeting with the aim of raising awareness of the urgent need to move towards a green and circular economy based on the promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns. This process will save governments billions of dollars while creating thousands of jobs.
Humanity currently produces more than two billion tons of municipal solid waste per year, including plastics, textiles, decomposed food, discarded electronics and batteries, debris from mining sites, and construction and abandoned chemical containers.
According to the Secretary-General, humanity treats the planet like a dump warning that this mountain of waste will reach four billion tonnes by 2050.
“ We ransack our only habitat “, he claimed, adding: “ We are dumping a torrent of waste and pollution that compromises our environment, our economies and our health “.
Guterres said it was time to ” wage a war on waste on three fronts, calling on the polluters themselves to take the initiative.
” Those who produce waste must design products and services that consume less resources and materials, intelligently manage the waste created throughout the life cycle of their products, and innovatively extend the life of the products they sell. “, he underlined. These companies will also need to invest in waste management, recovery and recycling systems in the communities where they operate, Guterres says.
The UN chief called on countries, cities and local governments to develop and expand modern waste management systems, as well as policies that encourage the reuse and recycling of plastic bottles, electronic devices aging and other items.
For the Secretary General, we all need to think about the origin and impact of the goods and products we buy every day – and rethink how we dispose of them “.
” We need to find opportunities to reuse, recycle, repurpose, repair and recover the products we use. And we have to think twice before throwing these items in the trash “, concludes the head of the UN.