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‘We’re treating the planet like dumping ground’ — UN calls for war against waste

‘We’re treating the planet like dumping ground’ — UN calls for war against waste
March 31
13:28 2023

António Guterres, UN secretary-general, has called on countries to develop modern waste management systems and policies that encourage the reusing and recycling of items.

In a statement issued on Thursday to mark International Zero Waste Day, Guterres said the planet is drowning in garbage, and it is high time to clean up. 

The international day, which is being marked for the first time, aims to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns — as well as support societal shifts towards circularity and raise awareness about how zero-waste initiatives contribute to the advancement of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

According to the UN, the world currently generates more than two billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, which includes plastics, textiles, rotting food, discarded electronics, and debris from mining and construction sites. 


Guterres, who said it is time for a war on waste, warned that humans are basically “treating our planet like a garbage dump”, and that the messy mountain will reach four billion tonnes by 2050.

“We are trashing our only home. We’re spewing a torrent of waste and pollution that is affecting our environment, our economies, and our health,” he said. 

“Those who produce waste must design products and services that are less resource and material intensive, smartly manage any waste created across all stages of their products’ lifecycle, and find creative ways to extend the lives of the products they sell. 


“These companies will also need to invest in waste management, recovery and recycling systems in communities where they operate. All of us need to consider the origins and impacts 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 need to think twice before throwing these items in the garbage.”

This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.


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