More than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year worldwide, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 per cent is recycled.
In Cyprus, ahead of World Environment Day this year, the United Nations Peacekeeping Force (UNFICYP) has pledged to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution across the UN controlled buffer zone.
UNFICYP peacekeepers from the UK, Argentina and Slovakia have been conducting clean-up operations across large swaths of the UN buffer zone collecting plastic waste and disposing it responsibility to allow the environment inside the buffer zone to flourish.
Understanding the environmental risks and promoting sustainability on the island, UNFICYP Force Commander Major General Ingrid Gjerde highlights that “climate change and pollution is threatening the life of the generations to come. We can all contribute to a better environment. Our clean-up operations are a tangible demonstration of our commitment to work closely with local communities to beat the scourge of plastic pollution.”
Our Argentinian peacekeepers, based in Sector One, which covers the area between Kokkina village on the western coast to the village of Mammari, west of Nicosia, are leading the way with their efforts to reduce the use of single use plastics to safeguard the environment they operate in. In other parts of the buffer zone, the British contingent based in Nicosia, and the Slovak contingent responsible for the east part of the buffer zone, have begun minimizing their use of single use plastics and are currently working to eliminate the remaining plastic consumables still being used by UNFICYP peacekeepers.
UNFICYP continues to actively promote environmental awareness and protection among its personnel, as an important priority for the Mission’s goal towards a greener and sustainable future.
World Environment Day is observed every year on 5 June, and is the biggest international day for the environment. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and held annually since 1973, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach. It is celebrated by millions of people across the world. This year’s campaign theme focuses on solutions to plastic pollution under the global campaign #BeatPlasticPollution.