UNEP Advises People to Recycle Plastics

September 10, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. appeal /əˈpil/ (n.) – a serious request or petition
Example: The president of the organization made a public appeal to raise environmental funds.

2. tackle /ˈtæk əl/ (v.) – to discuss or to deal with something
Example: He has already tackled the same problem a few years ago.

3. swallow /ˈswɒl oʊ/ (v.) – to ingest something through the mouth
Example: He swallowed the last piece of cake before his mother arrived.

4. decline /dɪˈklaɪn/ (n.) – a condition in which something becomes worse
Example: Most marine mammals suffer a decline in health because of overfishing and pollution.

5. conserve /kənˈsɜrv/ (v.) – to manage or save something
Example: We must always turn off the lights if not in use to conserve electricity.


Read the text below.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) suggested that people should stop throwing away plastic products and start recycling or reusing them.

The appeal was made in Kenya during the launch of the eleventh edition of the UNEP Year Book and was announced on the opening day of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).

The eleventh edition of the UNEP Year Book tackles different environmental issues over the past decade. The book also provides action plans for each issue. One of the matters discussed is plastic and its harmful effects, especially on marine life. 

According to UNEP head scientist Jacqueline McGlade, plastics have dangerous effects on both marine and human life. She emphasized that plastics can be swallowed by small aquatic organisms such as seabirds, fish, mussels, and worms. This greatly affects the growth of these organisms, thus causing imbalance in the marine ecosystem.

McGlade also mentioned that dumped plastics can be harmful to humans since some products such as toothpaste and cosmetic products depend on marine life.

Based on a report made by Trucost and the Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP), dumped plastics would cost around a 13-million dollar worth of marine life. This destruction of the marine ecosystem might then lead to the decline in fisheries, livelihood, and tourism.

Achim Steiner [ahk-HEEM s-TAY-ner], UN undersecretary and UNEP executive director, said that people should know how to wisely use plastics. According to him, people can still use plastics but they should know how to recycle and reuse them. They must also be aware of its environmental effects. The organization is aiming for the society to be more knowledgeable on how to preserve and conserve the environment.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think UNEP’s appeal is a good move? Why or why not?
·         As an individual, what can you do to support UNEP’s advocacy?

Discussion B

·         Do you think using plastics should be banned? Why or why not?
·         What are the laws that aim to protect marine life in your country?

September 10, 2014