UN Declares War On Waste -Zero Waste Day

By Ndatenda Njanike (Press and Communications Officer)

THE International Day of Zero Waste was observed for the first time on 30 March 2023 In response to the worsening impacts of waste on human health, the economy, and the environment.

30 March has been marked as a day to encourage prevention and minimize waste and promotes a societal shift toward a circular economy.

Speaking at a high-level meeting held to raise awareness of the urgent need to transition to a “green” and circular economy that promotes sustainable production and consumption patterns, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said

“It was time for “a war on waste” on three fronts, calling on polluters themselves to take the lead. 

 “treating our planet like a garbage dump”, warning 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 went on to urge those in production to manufacture products that are less resource and material intensive and for these companies to invest in waste management, recovery, and recycling systems in communities where they operate.

 “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 product’s lifecycle, and find creative ways to extend the lives of the products they sell,” He added. 

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the role of zero waste as a transformative solution in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN chief urged countries, cities, and local governments to develop and scale up modern waste management systems, as well as policies that encourage reusing and recycling plastic bottles, aging electronics, and other items. 

His final point focused on the need for consumers to be more responsible.   

“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,” he said.  

“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.” 

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