International Zero Waste Day: UN advocates shift to a circular economy.

The world celebrates this Thursday for the first time the International Zero Waste Day, which encourages all people, businesses and governments to prevent and minimize waste, pushing for a societal shift towards a circular economy. 
“Humanity is treating our planet like a landfill, we are trashing our only home,” said the UN Secretary-General at a General Assembly event to mark the day.
António Guterres supported his assertion by citing figures from the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) that reveal that the world generates 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste every year, 45% of which is not properly managed.
He also recalled that every minute the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic is thrown into the ocean and affirmed that pollution and chemical products poison the water, air and soil.
He also said that 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the cultivation, storage and transportation of food that is never used, adding that it is “barbaric” that this is happening while more than 800 million people suffer from hunger in the world.
The UN has stressed that garbage disproportionately affects the poorest people, especially the nearly 4 billion people who do not have access to controlled waste disposal facilities.
Figures also indicate that poorly managed waste is the third largest global emitter of methane.
All this costs the global economy billions of dollars annually, he added.
Guterres insisted that time is running out to avoid a climate catastrophe and said that reducing waste would significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Circular economy would create millions of jobs.

The Secretary-General argued that simultaneous action along these three lines would bring great economic benefits and stressed that a circular, zero-waste economy would lead to the creation of hundreds of millions of jobs.

“But all of that requires global collaboration,” he emphasized, and considered that the mere celebration of International Zero Waste Day demonstrates that the political will exists to combat the source of pollution posed by garbage.

“Let us work as one to build a waste-free circular future for people and the planet,” Guterres said.

The heads of UN agencies joined the Secretary-General in calling for a circular economy.

A worker at a recycling plant in Jordan.

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