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UN Environment Programme

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Ways to overcome the waste pollution crisis

Humanity generates between 2.1 billion and 2.3 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually. When mismanaged, this waste emits greenhouse gases or toxic chemicals, damaging ecosystems, spreading disease, and impacting economic prosperity, particularly affecting women and youth. On March 30th, the world will observe the International Day of Zero Waste, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), emphasizing the importance of proper waste management and addressing overconsumption driving the waste crisis.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized the urgency, stating, "Overconsumption is killing us. Humanity needs an intervention. On this Zero Waste Day, let’s pledge to end the destructive cycle of waste, once and for all."
Here are eight strategies to embrace a zero waste approach:
Combat food waste: Despite 783 million people going hungry, 19% of food available to consumers is wasted annually, contributing to significant greenhouse gas emissions. Solutions include promoting urban agriculture, composting food waste, and redistributing surplus healthy food to marginalized communities.
Address textile waste: Less than 1% of clothing material is recycled annually, resulting in substantial material and water loss. To counter this, the fashion industry must adopt circular business models, offer longer-lasting products, and enhance textile collection and recycling infrastructure.
Reduce electronic waste: Electronics contribute to global waste accumulation, with manufacturers encouraging frequent device replacements. Governments can implement policies to extend product lifecycles, offer repair services, and enforce extended producer responsibility to manage electronic waste effectively.
Minimize resource use in products: Adopting eco-design standards and lifecycle approaches can reduce raw material consumption, minimize hazardous chemicals, and promote product durability and recyclability.
Combat plastic pollution: Single-use plastics contribute to environmental degradation and health risks. Phasing out single-use plastics, improving waste management, and establishing global monitoring systems are essential steps in ending plastic pollution.
Address hazardous waste: Chemical and hazardous waste pose risks to human health and the environment. Governments can commit to multilateral environmental agreements, while citizens can advocate for the removal of hazardous substances from the global market.
Rethink urban design: Investing in energy-efficient buildings and waste management infrastructure can reduce waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions in cities, fostering a shift towards zero waste.
Invest in waste management: By improving waste collection, reducing uncontrolled disposal, and increasing recycling, governments can generate substantial economic gains while promoting sustainable waste management practices.
Through collaborative efforts and investment in sustainable solutions, humanity can transition to a zero waste approach, ensuring a more sustainable future for generations to come.




Do you agree?

26 more agrees trigger contact with the recipient

  • Grace Njeri

    4 d

    Thanks for not being mean with the information.

    1
    • Esther Wanjiku

      2 w

      This is very crucial information ,a big thank you for sharing.

      6
    • winnie nguru

      2 w

      This photo is the perfect example of the kind of transformation we need. With will and efforts geared towards the right direction we can achieve it

      4
      • Esther Wanjiku

        2 w

        @winnie_nguru Very well addressed

        1
      • George Kariuki

        2 w

        The world needs a #ZeroWaste revolution and this is EXACTLY how we can achieve it! Love these strategies from UNEP.

        2
        • dickson mutai

          2 w

          We think it's time for concerted efforts and investments in sustainable solutions to pave the way for a zero waste approach and ensure a healthier planet for generations to come

          2
          • mary Mwihaki

            2 w

            This is the best way reducing wasteto our nation is our responsibility.

            3
            • dickson mutai

              2 w

              From reducing food waste to rethinking urban design, every step counts :)

              4
              • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

                2 w

                Such information is important in understanding how we can manage and control waste. Thank you for sharing

                15
                • Jane Wangui

                  2 w

                  We all should take responsibility of our actions and control the amount of waste that we dispose off so as to the reduce the pollution.

                  17
                  • Elizabeth Gathigia

                    2 w

                    @jane_wangui Absolutely I agree with you 💯

                    2
                    • Grace Njeri

                      4 d

                      @jane_wangui It's indeed everyone's responsibility to ensure that wastes amount is reduced.

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