Despite the challenges ahead, more meaningful action is being taken worldwide to protect the natural environment.
Wanton pollution. Large-scale environmental destruction. Continued deforestation. The list goes on. In the face of all the environmental ills that ail our planet, some of us might be inclined to throw up our hands in despair.
We shouldn’t. Despite the grave challenges ahead, more and more meaningful action is being taken worldwide to protect the planet’s natural environment, according to the United Nations. In its newly released annual report, which covers 2018, the UN’s environmental agency highlights some of the achievements from last year to show that “the pace of action on many interlinked environmental issues is accelerating.”
Among the most noteworthy developments last year, India, one of the world’s worst plastic polluters, pledged to phase out single-use plastics by 2022. The move is aimed at severely curtailing the vast amounts of plastic waste generated by 1.3 billion people in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
“The choices that we make today will define our collective future,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted last year when he launched the initiative. “The choices may not be easy. But through awareness, technology, and a genuine global partnership, I am sure we can make the right choices. Let us all join together to beat plastic pollution and make this planet a better place to live.”
UN Environment is also pushing, in a partnership with the World Health Organization, to improve air quality through a variety of measures, including a boosting of fuel efficiency and a larger-scale adoption of electric vehicles. In many countries, especially in the developing world, abysmal levels of exceedingly high air pollution are causing national health crises with millions of people at risk of debilitating diseases and death.
Stepped-up wildlife protection measures by several countries to try and save critically endangered species were also among encouraging developments last year.
“While 2018 was a challenging year, we saw hope in growing action and global commitment to new ways of doing business that tackle the environmental challenges we face,” UN Environment’s Acting Executive Director Joyce Msuya notes. “Our role in highlighting best practices, advocating action and bringing together governments, civil society and businesses once again proved critical.”