It is now time to end our toxic and unsustainable relationship with single-use plastic and, in fact, find new love for #CleanSeas! This is the message put out by the United Nations Environment #CleanSeas campaign on the occasion of Valentine’s Day 2018. It has released a short film on the issue, which looks at the detrimental impact of single-use plastic. Many countries celebrate Valentine’s Day across the world. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has called on people urging them to end their “toxic relationship” with single-use plastic and find “new love,” with environment-friendly as well as sustainable lifestyle options. The movie takes a lighter approach towards this issue.

There is tremendous toxic pollution unleashed due to use of plastics. It is estimated by 2020 the oceans would have more plastic debris floating around than the fish in them. According to the Ministry of State for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change report, around 15,000 tons of plastic waste got generated in India each day in 2015, out of which 6,000 tons remained uncollected and was littered. This led to the death of 1 million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals every year due to the plastic in the oceans. Moreover, 8 million tons of plastic finds its way into oceans each year! The message was relevant to the day of hearts and cupid, when people take to celebrating love through gifts and other gestures, which are at times unsustainable.

The short film It’s not me, it’s you, which is primarily a short video for the UN’s #CleanSeas campaign, takes a look at the serious problem of marine litter and urges everyone to give up use of single-use plastics, including products such as disposable cutlery, food containers, water bottles, and shopping bags. The UN’s environment wing has been carrying out a sustained campaign against environmentally unfriendly practices and products. Such products eventually end up in seas and oceans where they endanger fish, turtles, birds, and other marine creatures. They either ingest the plastic refuse thinking it to be food or get entangled in plastic fishing meshes. In fact, plastic waste has entered human food chain, with serious health consequences, which yet to be even fully understood.

Besides the impact on human as well as animal health, this toxic pollution adversely impacts businesses like tourism. The plastic debris and waste do not get restricted to their areas of discharge but float around and are carried away to faraway places by ocean currents. At times, they even end up on remote Pacific islands as well as the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

UNEP’s #CleanSeas campaign tries to “turn the tide on plastic” and ocean pollution through inspiring action from the governments, individuals, as well as businesses. A conscious switch to glass or metal containers or a simple step such as carrying a reusable shopping bag could go a long way towards ridding this planet from the plastic problem. Let’s all pledge for a green and sustainable lifestyle.

Image credit: UN Environment