By Don Lowe

As the 54th annual Earth Day arrives today (Monday, April 22), this year’s theme of Planet vs. Plastics reflects just how vital promoting environmental awareness continues to be for everyone and helps reinforce the importance of remaining diligent in looking for practical ways to help protect this precious place we all call home, all around the globe. 

For anyone interested in finding out more about Earth Day, from the past to the present, while also looking ahead to the future, is packed full of information, including key details on this year’s initiative and much, much more. 

Taking a closer look at this year’s theme, there’s a lofty goal for a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040, just 16 years from now, with an overall objective of building a plastic-free future for generations to come. 

In achieving this 60% reduction,’s goals are: 

1. Promoting widespread public awareness of the damage done by plastic to human, animal and all biodiversity’s health and demanding more research to be conducted on its health implications, including the release of all information regarding its effects to the public. 

2. Rapidly phasing out all single-use plastics by 2030 and achieving this phase-out commitment in the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution in 2024. 

3. Demanding policies ending the scourge of fast fashion and the vast amount of plastic it produces and uses. 

 4. Investing in innovative technologies and materials to build a plastic-free world.

Kathleen Rogers, president of, explains best what makes this so pivotal in saying, “The word environment means what surrounds you. In the case of plastics, we have become the product itself – it flows through our blood stream, adheres to our internal organs and carries with it heavy metals known to cause cancer and disease. 

“Now this once-thought amazing and useful product has become something else, and our health and that of all other living creatures hangs in the balance. The Planet vs. Plastics campaign is a call to arms, a demand that we act now to end the scourge of plastics and safeguard the health of every living being upon our planet.” 

A few of the more alarming trends: 

1. More than 500 billion plastic bags – one million bags per minute – were produced worldwide last year. Many plastic bags have a working life of a few minutes, followed by an afterlife of centuries. Even after plastics disintegrate, they remain as microplastics, minute particles permeating every niche of life on the planet. 

2. 100 billion plastic beverage containers were sold last year in the United States. That’s more than 300 bottles per inhabitant. A few of them will be converted into park benches; none of them will be made into new plastic bottles and 95% of all plastics in the U.S. won’t be recycled at all. Even the 5% of plastics being recycled are downcycling to inferior products or shipped to poorer countries for recycling, leaving the demand for virgin plastic undiminished. 

3. People seldom think of water when they think of plastics. But making a plastic water bottle requires six times as much water as the bottle itself contains. 

To learn more about Planet vs. Plastics and join the movement for a plastic-free future, and to educate yourself on the impacts of plastic on human health, check out the Plastics Health Research Module and’s Earth Hub for all fact sheets, toolkits, press releases and articles.

Earth Day 

Fast Facts

What: An annual event to help demonstrate support for the environment. 

When: Monday, April 22. 

History: First held April 22, 1970, it now includes wide-ranging events coordinated around the world by, including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries. 

Planting the Seeds: The history of Earth Day dates to 1970 when Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson organized the first Earth Day to help raise public awareness about environmental issues and promote environmental activism. Since then, Earth Day has become a global event, with celebrations and events taking place in more than 193 countries. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in many ways, including community cleanup events, tree plantings and educational events. And it provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and governments to take action.