World Environment Day is the United Nation’s most important day, celebrated on June 5 every year, to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began to be celebrated in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. India was the host country to celebrate World Environment Day this year and the theme was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.
Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental challenges of our times, with statistics indicating that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050. To change our future, each of us needs to play our part. Whether it is a bottled soft drink, a bag from the supermarket, or a spoon in a coffee shop, single-use plastic has become embedded in our daily lives. The low cost, convenience and lightness of these products have revolutionized the packaging of goods. However, it is now clear that this convenience has had a catastrophic impact on the environment. To understand the growing menace of plastic pollution, here are some startling global stats:
- Up to 5 trillion plastic bags used each year
- 13 million tons of plastic leak into the ocean each year
- 17 million barrels of oil used on plastic production each year
- 1 million plastic bottles bought every minute
- 1,00,000 marine animals killed by plastics each year
- 100 years for plastic to decompose in the environment
- 90% of bottled water found contains plastic particles
- 83% of tap water found contains plastic particles
- 50% of consumer plastics are single use
- 10% of all human-generated waste is plastic
To support this cause, RMSI recently organized a Green Week (4 – 9 Jun 2018), a call to action for all of it’s employees across offices to jointly combat one of the biggest environmental challenges of our times – plastic pollution. The aim of this Green Week is to harness individual actions and transform them into a collective power that has a legacy of real and lasting impact on the planet.
Green Week invited all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife and marine life… and our own health. This World Environment Day RMSI engaged its employees and CSR partners to join in raising awareness and inspiring action to form the global movement needed to beat plastic pollution for good.
On the first day of the Green Week, a colorful poster-making competition was organized on the theme ‘Coexistence with Nature’. The aim was to rediscover our quintessential bond with nature, expressed in the form of creative posters. On the second day i.e. World Environment Day, we distributed saplings to various team representatives across SBUs as a gift for adopting plants and also naming them. These team representatives also painted earthen water pots to provide water to thirsty birds and animals at their home. On the third day, RMSI Movie Club screened an animation movie ‘Happy Feet’ to highlight the alarming dangers of climate change and degradation of marine life in the Antarctica region… all in an entertaining manner. The fourth day saw a special public speech session in association with RMSI NOIDA Toastmasters Club where people exchanged views and opinions on how plastic has become a slow poison for all and interesting ways to curb plastic pollution. On the fifth day, ROAM Club put forth a special drama performance amongst people to refresh the awareness of our unbreakable give-and-take relationship with the environment. On the last day of Green week, the 40 members of Helping Hands, a people-run CSR forum, at our Dehradun office visited Jahariwala to clean the riverside area which was already in a critical condition due to blockage by plastic bags and other such materials. After 3 hours of cleanup, the members took a collective responsibility of spreading the message of minimizing usage of plastics and adopting eco-friendly lifestyle.
Overall, it was a fun-filled eventful week where RMSI took the initiative of co-creating a world for betterment of our lives with an appeal to be more caring and compassionate towards our planet because we all have one home – Earth.