Environment Week 2023: Joining Forces to Beat Plastic Pollution
June 12, 2023
The Environment week started off with a two-day Seminar with the theme "Beat Plastic Pollution. The United Nations Development Programme supported the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment (ROM) that brought together diverse stakeholders to address a critical global concern: plastic pollution. The week-long activities held during this Environment week aim to raise awareness and inspire collective action towards a sustainable future.
Plastic pollution has emerged as one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Every year, an astonishing 300 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide, with approximately 11 million tons ending up in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. Unless immediate action is taken, these figures are projected to triple within the next two decades. Suriname, like many other countries, faces the consequences of plastic pollution, generating a significant 20,309 tons of plastic waste in 2020 alone.
Recognizing the urgency of the issue, the Ministry of ROM initiated the Koni Doti project, which focuses on waste separation at the source to combat plastic pollution. However, the scale of the problem necessitates a collective effort involving governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and individuals. Environment Week 2023 highlights the shared responsibility we all bear in addressing plastic pollution.
Ms. Margaret Jones Williams, Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP, highlighted during her remarks that sound environmental management will move Suriname strongly towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, as almost all the SDGs are related to the environment. She also emphasized SDG 17: Partnerships to achieve the goals, which is critical in accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. Vincent Sweeney, Head of the Caribbean Sub-Regional Office for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), highlighted the recently launched "Zero Waste in the Caribbean: New ways, new waves" project during his remarks. The project aims to strengthen the partnership between the Caribbean and the European Union to improve resource management of the Caribbean in support of solid waste management.
The importance of partnerships and collaboration was also emphasized by the Minister of ROM, Marciano Dasai, as he urged everyone to actively participate in this Environmental Week and support the efforts of ROM. He stated, "Together, we can make a difference. Let's strive for a world where we live in harmony with nature, where our air is clean, our oceans healthy, and our ecosystems resilient."
At the core of the event is the need to raise awareness and promote sustainable alternatives. By reevaluating our consumption habits and opting for reusable alternatives, everyone can make a meaningful impact. Similarly, businesses must prioritize sustainable packaging options and invest in recycling infrastructure to mitigate the plastic waste crisis. Education plays a vital role in effecting lasting change, and Environment Week 2023 aims to empower the youth with knowledge about the detrimental effects of plastic pollution, fostering a culture of sustainability for future generations.
An array of events, workshops, and lectures have been organized to take place during Environment Week, focusing on education, innovation, and awareness. This will equip participants with knowledge and inspiration to make positive changes in their daily lives. The success of Environment Week 2023 relied on the active participation and support of individuals, communities, donors, sponsors, and dedicated organizations. By harnessing the power of collective action, we can create a world where nature thrives, the air is clean, oceans remain healthy, and ecosystems become more resilient.
Environment Week 2023 serves as a turning point in Suriname's journey towards sustainability. It highlights the importance of collaboration and underscores the role each one of us plays in protecting the environment. Let us carry the momentum forward, continuing to actively participate, support the cause, and work together to forge a path towards a brighter, greener future.