As the world celebrates World Environment Day, the United Nations has called for proper disposal of plastic waste, saying more than 8 million tonnes end up in the ocean.

The World Environment Day is the United Nations' (UN) most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment.

The theme for the World Environment Day 2018 is "Beat Plastic Pollution" which focus attention on pressing environmental concerns around the world.

The theme invites everyone to consider how they can make changes in their everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places.

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations in his message marking the day on June 5, 2018, said a healthy planet was essential for a prosperous and peaceful future, spelling out that: “We all have a role to play in protecting our only home.”

“Our world is swamped by harmful plastic waste,” he stated. “Every year, more than eight million tonnes end up in the oceans.”

Pointing out the astonishing comparison between stars in the cosmos and ocean plastics, Guterres underscored that “from remote islands to the Arctic, nowhere is untouched.”

“If present trends continue, by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic than fish,” he said.

On World Environment Day, Guterres is encouraging everyone to also stop using plastic products which are designed just to be thrown away, such as plastic bottles.

“Refuse what you can’t re-use,” he asserted.

“Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world,” concluded the Secretary-General.

Since it was first celebrated in 1974, the Day has helped raise awareness and generate political momentum around global environmental concerns such as ozone depletion, desertification and global warming.

In Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, vice president, joined the world by participating in activities marking the Day, at the State House Conference Center, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

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Osinbajo while speaking on Tuesday at an event to mark the 2018 World Environment Day, said the Ministry of Environment was working in partnership with the state governments to develop a national plastic waste recycling programme involving the establishment of recycling plants across Nigeria.

According to him, eight of the plastic waste recycling plants have been completed and handed over to the states, while 18 others were in various stages of completion.