Today is World Environment Day!
Thousands of people across six continents are joining large-scale clean-up efforts, countries are protecting an additional 1,600 square kilometres of land and more than 30 iconic landmarks are being lit up in green to raise environmental awareness.
In Tijuana, volunteers from both sides of the US-Mexico border are teaming up to clean the city beach in the face of a common environmental threat from plastic pollution.
In India, thousands of people who worked on the clean-up on Mumbai’s Versova beach are celebrating the removal of more than 5.5 million kilograms of rubbish over the last 18 months, transforming the beach from a dumpsite into a scenic area.
Today they are planting 500 palm trees in the sand to restore the ecosystem.
Finland has turned its ‘Hossa’ region of dark forests and fish-filled waters into its 40th national park and Bosnia and Herzegovina has doubled the size of its protected areas by establishing eight new sites, totalling 1,600 square kilometres.
A range of governments are also introducing new protected areas at sea, placing the world on track to preserve a tenth of all its oceans by 2020. For the first time in history, the size of protected areas at sea is now larger than those on land.
UN Environment Chief, Erik Solheim, said: “Our entire modern life, with its skyscrapers and smartphones, stands on a delicate foundation of natural systems.
“Today, these foundations are shaking, undermined by manmade climate change, deforestation and extinctions. No amount of advanced technology will save us if we destroy and pollute our natural lifeblood.”