The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced a city mayor, a non-profit foundation, a social enterprise, a government initiative and a research council as its Champions of the Earth 2023.
- Josefina Belmonte Belmonte, mayor of Quezon City in the Philippines (Policy Leadership), the UK-based Ellen MacArthur Foundation (Inspiration and Action), China’s Blue Circle (Entrepreneurial Vision), José Manuel Moller of Chile (Entrepreneurial Vision) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (Science and Innovation) were declared winners “for their innovative solutions and transformative action to tackle plastic pollution”.
- Humanity produces around 430 million tonnes of plastic every year, two-thirds of which quickly becomes waste.
- Every year, up to 23 million tonnes of plastic waste leaks into aquatic ecosystems, polluting lakes, rivers and seas.
- By 2040, carbon emissions associated with the production, use and disposal of conventional fossil fuel-based plastics could account for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions under the most ambitious targets of the Paris climate change agreement.
- Chemicals in plastic can also cause health problems in humans.
- The annual Champions of the Earth award is the UN’s highest environmental honour.
- It has recognised 116 laureates: 27 world leaders, 70 individuals and 19 organisations since its inception in 2005.
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