World Environment Day will be taking place on Saturday 5th June, and this year is an important one. The 5th June will mark the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, running from 2021 to 2030. As scientists have identified 2030 as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change, the UN are aiming to halt degradation and revive ecosystems by around the world (via worldenvironmentday.global). Reducing pollution and cleaning up waste from the environment.
Ecosystems have been continuously harmed and exploited throughout the modern era, however this damage has increased exponentially in the last century. Globally, this degradation affects the well-being of 3.2 billion people. The continued land degradation could reduce global food productivity by 12% by 2040, which will cause food prices to soar and impact food security.
In Jamaica, the environment is particularly heavily impacted by improper waste management systems (demonstrated in the photo of Kingston Harbor). An estimated 25-30% of Jamaica’s waste is improperly disposed of. To put this into perspective, in 2010 approximately 1kg of waste produced per person per day (via Garbage in the Gully – Jamaica Environment Trust 2016). According to this conservative estimate, 725 tonnes of waste is improperly disposed of each day. Leading to over 300,000 tonnes of garbage being dumped illegally each year. Instead of being correctly disposed of, waste can be burnt, causing air pollution, or make its way into gullies, streams and eventually into the ocean.
An environment filled with waste is not only unpleasant, it also heavily impacts the delicate ecosystems. Plastics can be swept down rivers into the ocean, killing sea life and even ending up in the fish we eat (further information can be seen in the below picture).
This is where recycling comes in. Between March 2014 and March 2017, 1.5 million kilograms of plastic was recovered in Jamaica (via Why Recycle – JIS 2019). Enough to produce 100 million bottles. Removing this amount of plastic from the environment benefits the wildlife and reduces the risk of it being washed into the ocean to cause further damage. Recycling is an important part of the battle against climate change, this is especially true for single-use plastics.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light a lot of issues that were somewhat overshadowed in the fast paced “normal” life. Namely, food insecurity, climate migration and vast social inequalities. Growpots produced by 360 Recycle tackle two growing global issues, food insecurity and environmental degradation. These pots enable food to be grown in an urban setting with little outside space, reducing food insecurity. The pots themselves are made from recycled plastics, Styrofoam and paper, reducing the amount of waste in the environment.
We are approaching the tipping point before we create irreversible environmental damage. However, by recycling and supporting the restoration of the environment, together we can become #climatesmart.
For more information on the Grow Pots visit: https://www.360recycleja.com/product-page/rectangle-4ft-planter-box
To learn more about World Environment and find out how you can contribute to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration follow the link: https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/
To see how be #climatesmart and impact the Caribbean (according to the UN) visit: https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/building-back-better-requires-transforming-development-model-latin-america-and-caribbean
Other articles mentioned:
Garbage in the Gully - https://www.jamentrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Binder1.pdf
Article submitted by Guest Writer: Phoebe Prior - Jones