Nairobi 6 June 2018—The United Nations family in Nairobi and invited guests marked this year’s World Environment Day (WED) in colour and pomp with a declaration that the fight against plastic would be stepped up to make the world a better place.

In his address, Mr. Jorge Laguna-Celis, Director, Governance Affairs, UN Environment, said his agency was committed to ensuring the world saw a drastic ban on the use of plastic. He gave the list of countries that have so far banned the use of plastic saying that many more were signing up to do so.

The global celebrations for this year’s WED were held in India. Speaking at the Nairobi event, Mr. R. Chandramouli, First Secretary, High Commission of India said that his country had organised a wide range of activities ahead of the big day, including workshops and conferences on managing plastic and biodiversity.

“Some 100,000 schools also took part in pre World Environment Day celebrations and we are happy with the results,” he said.

In her speech, Sahle-Work Zewde, Director General, UNON said commemoration  of WED in Nairobi was special in that Not only is Nairobi the headquarters of the world’s leading environmental authority - UNEP –; Kenya was also becoming a global environmental leader in its own right, further solidifying Nairobi’s place as the “environmental capital of the world”

“As the only UN Headquarters in the global South, UNON is committed to playing its part to curb pollution and safeguard the environment. In this connection, we have embarked on a number of environment-friendly measures on this UN compound in recent years.

For example, since 2009, UNON has kept track of and reported our greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an ongoing commitment to sustainability on the complex. As a result of these efforts, UNON achieved climate neutrality for the first time in 2015,” she said

UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimuna Mohd Sharif said the agency was grappling with the consequences of a world where half of the population was living in cities.

“Foremost among the environmental implications of this unprecedented urbanization is the phenomenon of solid waste generation, an inevitable result of human activities.

Currently, 2 billion people across the globe do not have access to regular waste collection. Uncollected garbage pollutes our living environment and threatens our health and well-being, and is the main cause of marine pollution – the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, floating trash between Hawaii and California, twice the size of Texas, is just one illustration. Each year, 8 million tons of plastic – the equivalent of a full garbage truck every minute – ends up in the world’s oceans,” she said.

Ms. Sharif said that poor and absent local solid waste management and infrastructure systems were a major cause of planetary scale plastic pollution and that plastic pollution was another reminder, alongside climate change, of the serious global impacts generated by millions of inappropriate local actions and inactions.

During the event, guests were treated to song and dance by Ankhile Puth Punjab De, a male bhangra dance group