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World Earth Day 2024: Mobilizing Global Action to Combat Plastic Pollution and Preserve Our Planet's Future

World Earth Day 2024 celebrates environmental awareness with the theme 'Planet vs. Plastics', urging global action to combat plastic pollution and protect our planet for future generations.

Saurabh Shukla
World Earth Day 2024: Mobilizing Global Action to Combat Plastic Pollution and Preserve Our Planet's Future (Photo Source: Canva)
World Earth Day 2024: Mobilizing Global Action to Combat Plastic Pollution and Preserve Our Planet's Future (Photo Source: Canva)

Every year, the global community comes together on April 22nd to celebrate World Earth Day, a momentous occasion dedicated to environmental awareness and action. As we observe the 54th Earth Day in 2024, the urgency of addressing environmental challenges, particularly the rise of plastic pollution, has never been more pressing.


Earth Day is celebrated to raise awareness about environmental issues and promote actions to protect our planet. It's a time for people around the world to come together and advocate for sustainable practices, conservation efforts, and the preservation of natural resources. Earth Day serves as a reminder of the importance of taking care of our planet for current and future generations. It encourages individuals, communities, and governments to take action towards creating a healthier and more sustainable environment.


Earth Day traces its roots back to 1970 when Senator Gaylord Nelson and graduate student Denis Hayes launched a movement to address environmental degradation in the United States. The inaugural Earth Day mobilized 20 million Americans, sparking widespread advocacy for environmental protection. Since then, Earth Day has evolved into a global phenomenon, engaging over one billion people across nearly 200 countries.

Global Relevance 

Earth Day expanded across national boundaries in 1990, inspiring 200 million people from 141 nations to support recycling activities all over the world. This worldwide momentum culminated in the 1992 United Nations Environment and Development Conference in Rio de Janeiro, which laid the framework for international environmental cooperation.

Theme- "Planet vs. Plastics"

The theme for Earth Day 2024, "Planet vs. Plastics," highlights the harmful impact of plastic pollution on both human health and planetary well-being. With a call for a 60% reduction in plastic production by 2040, this year's theme seeks to raise awareness about the urgency of combating plastic pollution. The focus on plastics comes ahead of a major UN accord that is anticipated to combat plastic pollution completely.

Plastic pollution poses a severe threat to ecosystems and human health, with shocking numbers highlighting its extent. To truly grasp the seriousness of the situation, consider the scale of the challenge we're facing. How significant are these numbers? Here's some context:

  • Currently, the world produces an incredible 430 million tonnes of plastic each year, with two-thirds of that having just short-term functions.

  • Back in 1950, global plastic production stood at a mere two million tons. Now, we're surpassing 450 million tons.

  • Plastics make up a staggering 85 percent of marine litter.

  • Every day, more than 2,000 garbage trucks loaded with plastic make their way into our oceans, rivers, and lakes. As a result, with no intervention, plastic pollution is expected to quadruple by 2060.

  • Over one million plastic water bottles are sold every minute.

  • A mere 9 percent of all plastics ever produced have been recycled.

  • A plastic bag takes a whopping 1,000 years to break down in a landfill. Unfortunately, they do not totally disintegrate but rather break down into microplastics, which absorb poisons and perpetuate environmental degradation.

Plastic is All Around Us

Microplastics, tiny plastic particles found everywhere in nature, pose a widespread and sneaky danger. They enter our food and water, endangering both humans and wildlife. Even though they're small, microplastics have big consequences for the environment. It's crucial to act quickly to stop them from spreading further.

Earth Day Today

As the millennium approached, the Earth Day movement shifted its focus to the looming climate crisis, emphasizing the urgent need for action from world leaders and businesses. This call to action remains relevant today, as highlighted by the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warning of catastrophic consequences if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed. The year 2023 marked the hottest on record, underscoring the severity of the situation.

Environmental risks dominate the World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report for 2024, with extreme weather events, changes to Earth's systems, and biodiversity loss ranking as top concerns. Nature plays a crucial role in mitigating climate change, yet human activity threatens ecosystems and species at an alarming rate. Earth Day has emerged as a pivotal force in combating climate change and biodiversity loss, emphasizing the need for collective action from citizens, governments, businesses, and communities to ensure our survival.

Plastic Pollution and More 

UN Member States reached an agreement in 2022 to put an end to plastic pollution. An Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee is working on a legally enforceable instrument on plastic pollution, with the goal of having it completed by the end of 2024.

Scheduled from April 23 to 29, 2024, the Fourth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee organizing in Ottawa, Canada, signifies an essential moment in the quest for a comprehensive international agreement to combat plastic pollution. Representatives from 174 countries hope to negotiate a legally binding treaty to eliminate plastic pollution by 2040, marking a worldwide effort to address this existential problem.

As we commemorate World Earth Day 2024, let us reaffirm our commitment to environmental protection and sustainability. The theme "Planet vs. Plastics" highlights the critical need to confront plastic pollution and embrace sustainable practices. Earth Day epitomizes the power of collective action, reminding us that by uniting in purpose, we can effect meaningful change and ensure a thriving planet for generations to come.

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