Page 5 - The South China Business Journal
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Charles Bennett The warm weather is returning to Guangzhou, and the buds appearing
Consul General on trees and blossoming flowers are a good reminder of the shared
Consulate General of the United environment we need to protect. On April 22 the United States will join
States of America, Guangzhou, China the world in celebrating Earth Day, a chance to educate citizens across the
globe and encourage every person, corporation, and government to take
action to protect our mutual home. With Earth Day observance now in
its 48th year, this year we focus on ending plastic pollution by changing
human attitudes and behavior toward plastics and catalyzing a significant
reduction in plastic pollution.

Plastic has enabled so many of our modern conveniences, yet few realize
it is a major source of marine debris due to its widespread use. Scientists
estimate that there are currently 150 million tons of plastic waste in the
ocean, with another eight million tons added each year. Without action, by
2050, there could be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the ocean. Much
of this waste is composed of consumer plastics such as food wrappers,
beverage bottles, and plastic bags, meaning that every individual has an
important role to play in reducing waste. Whether it is choosing reusable
bottles, avoiding single-use plastics, or taking a reusable bag with you
while shopping, we can all make changes in our daily lives. They may seem
insignificant at the individual level, but collectively have a huge impact.

We also applaud the companies who are taking the lead in turning
the tide on plastic pollution. Coca-Cola has committed to recycling one
can or bottle for each one sold by 2030. Proctor & Gamble has made
shampoo bottles using plastics recycled from beach cleanup days. As
local environmental standards continue to improve, we know that many
companies in South China are not just meeting the minimum standards,
but are leading the way with innovative improvements to their production
processes and corporate social responsibility activities.

Here at Consulate Guangzhou, cutting back on plastics consumption is
a mission we embrace wholeheartedly. I encourage my employees to take
personal responsibility for the plastic pollution that each one of us generates
by choosing to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics. This Earth Day, I urge
you to join us in setting a positive example for the local community and to
become trailblazers in the reduction of plastic pollution.

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