The award-winning community beach clean up in Mumbai.

The award-winning community beach clean up in Mumbai.

A bellowing Red Deer stag image and copyright Andy Luck.

All around the world people are celebrating World Environment Day. A bellowing Red Deer stag image and copyright Andy Luck.

Massive waste management campaigns, clean-ups and protected areas as humanity reconnects with nature on World Environment Day June 5th, 2017 (Source UN Environment)

●        India launches massive waste management campaign in 4000 cities
●        Afghanistan announces new protected areas in the Kol e Hashmat Khan wetland and management plans for for five other sites
●        Viet Nam launches a month-long tree planting challenge
●        Bangkok City Hall, the Water Cube in Beijing, and Guangzhou Tower in Guangzhou are part of the over 25 iconic landmarks, including the Empire State Building, the Egyptian Pyramids and Niagara Falls
●        Thai Government calls on all supermarkets, malls and convenient stores to stop giving plastic bags  every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in line with its policy to reduce plastic waste at source

5 June 2017 – Thousands of people are joining massive clean-ups of beaches and parks, countries are putting thousands of square kilometres under protection and over 25 iconic landmarks light up in green as people everywhere reconnect with nature on World Environment Day.

Celebrated on June 5th each year, World Environment Day is the largest global day for positive environmental action. This year, the main celebrations are hosted by Canada under the global theme of Connecting people to nature.

The theme highlights the vast benefits, from food security and improved health to water supply and climatic stability, that natural systems and clean environments provide to humanity. It also encourages people to get outdoors and appreciate those benefits first-hand.

“The trappings of modern life – skyscrapers, smartphones, fast food – are built atop a foundation
of complex natural systems,” said UN Environment chief Erik Solheim. “Without healthy natural systems, our modern life begins to crumble.

“A seemingly insignificant change can cause disastrous effects. We see it with climate change. A small global increase in temperature is causing rising sea levels, more floods and droughts, and species to be decimated.”

Lots of plastic rubbish beside boats in Mumbai.

The beach at Mumbai was in a desparate need of the clean-up.

World’s largest clean-up
In Mumbai, India, thousands have joined the world’s largest beach clean-up. Started in 2015 by UN Environment Champion of the Earth, Afroz Shah, the volunteer movement has so far removed 5.5 million kilograms of trash, transforming Versova beach from a forsaken dumpsite into a postcard destination.

“It is wonderful and amazing to see all stakeholders working together to make oceans plastic free. UN Environment coming on the ground level, along with citizens is a historical and game-changing move to help make our oceans pollution free,” said Shah.

In Tijuana, volunteers from both sides of the US-Mexico border are joining hands to clean up the city beach and prove that no divisions are stronger than the solidarity in face of a common environmental threat.

Rubber gloves-clad volunteers will also flock to the shores of Africa – from Kenya, which has recently announced a plastic bag-ban, to Tanzania and Mozambique – as well as Spain, the Baltic Sea, India, Lebanon, Greek Islands, Australia, Norway and Canada and even the Arctic.

New protected areas
A new national park in Cote d’Ivoire will …. Hossa – a mosaic of dark, primeval forests and fish-filled waters will become Finland’s 40th national park.

An atrocious terrorist attack just days before has not changed Afghanistan’s resolve to proclaim a new protected area in Hashmat Khan lake – a site of global importance for migratory birds.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has announced it will double the size of its protected areas. It is also one of X countries worldwide, which is making it easier to connect with nature by offering entrance to national parks free of charge. In Canada, the entrance fees will be waived throughout 2017.

Greening up
Bangkok City Hall, the Water Cube in Beijing, and Guangzhou Tower in Guangzhou, the Niagara Falls, Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio, the world’s tallest building – Dubai’s Burj Khalifa – and some of its oldest – the Egyptian pyramids – are among more than 25 iconic landmarks that will light up in green for World Environment Day. The Empire State Building in New York and Panama’s multi-faceted Biomuseo will also put on a green display.

Connecting with nature around the world
Businesses, civil society organizations and nature-lovers the world over have found thousands of creative ways to celebrate the environment.

More than twenty thousand schoolchildren, scientists, politicians and pop stars around the globe will attempt the world’s largest BioBlitz on June 1-12th, aiming to document more than a quarter of a million fascinating creatures in their backyards, parks and natural reserves through the iNaturalist app.

Encouraged by UN Environment Goodwill Ambassadors Gisele Bündchen and Don Cheadle, social media users will be posting photos of their favourite natural places, in a bid to create the World’s Biggest Nature Photo Album.

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Satwant Kaur, satwant.kaur@unep.org, +662 2882127, +66 81 7001376