UN Environment asks us to come together to #BeatPollution

Tue, 07/11/17

According to the latest edition of the Greening the Blue report, launched 2 November, the UN generated 554kg of waste per capita in 2016. In terms of waste management, only 30% of the waste produced at UN facilities was repurposed (i.e. recycled, reused, composted, recovered, etc.), the rest of it was incinerated, ended up in landfill or underwent other treatment.

Waste is only one example of the impacts that UN facilities and operations can have on pollution. Air pollution from the combustion of fuels for transportation (air and terrestrial), heating, cooling and power generation, as well as sewage production that can affect land and water, manufacturing processes and the use of chemicals, are all direct examples of sources of pollution from UN operations.   

Whilst there are numerous UN entities taking steps to reduce the environmental footprint of their facilities and operations, there is a lot more that we can be doing, as both individuals and work communities, to reduce our workplace contribution to pollution.

For these reasons, Greening the Blue is joining the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) in its call for the global community to come together to beat pollution. UN staff and organisations are invited to consider what you can do to take part in the  #BeatPollution campaign.




Did you know that millions of people are killed by, or experience, health maladies due to exposure to pollution every year? Or that 1.8 billion people are exposed to contaminated drinking water each year?

Pollution doesn’t only affect us directly, wildlife and our surrounding environments also suffer, with millions of tonnes of plastics polluting the world’s oceans each year. Research suggests that by 2050, 99% of seabirds will have ingested plastic and that there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. 

Whilst these statistics are shocking, they are hardly unexpected considering that we have produced 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic since 1950, 6.3 billion of which has become plastic waste. We also produce around 50 million tonnes of electronic waste each year, which has detrimental affects on our health and the environment, with numerous chemicals, such as lead and mercury, not being disposed of properly. 

To create a pollution-free planet, we must all take action to reduce the amount and type of resources that we consume, and to improve the way we dispose of resources once we’re finished with them.

This is exactly what UN Environment’s Beat Pollution campaign is all about.

So far, over 1,000,000 commitments have been made. And you can add your name to that list. 


What can we do?


No matter how small your commitment might seem to you, if everyone in the UN pledges to make a change, our overall impact could be significant. 

Stuck for ideas? Here are some work-based pledges you can make to help you to reduce your pollution footprint at the office:

  • Stop using single-use containers such a coffee cups, take-away containers or plastic water cups. Instead, bring your own mug, Tupperware containers and water bottles.
  • Opt for vegetarian and organic food options, and avoid packaged foods in the canteen.
  • Recycle whenever you can, especially when the waste may contain chemicals (e.g. batteries, electronic equipment, etc.).
  • Turn off electronics and lights when not in use.
  • Use public transport, carpool, cycle or walk to work.

No matter how big, or how small, pledge to #BeatPollution now!

Categories: Staff Engagement, Waste