A staggering nine million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year, with estimates suggesting that this plastic could stay in marine environments for 450 years or longer.
The situation in this part of the world is particularly dire - according to a Ocean Conservancy report, five fast-growing Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, are responsible for 55-66% of the plastic that ends in the ocean.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. What though, makes for an effective environmental campaign? Is it one that engages with the public, one that includes a catchy slogan, or one backed by scientific research?
National Geographic's Planet or Plastic? campaign appears to capture all the above.
Launched in summer 2018, Planet or Plastic? is a multi-year initiative comprising scientific research, consumer education and engagement, and partnerships across National Geographic's global media portfolio and expansive network, with the ultimate goal of preventing one billion plastic items from entering the world's oceans.
That simple yet crucial question will also be posed at Earth Day Run 2019, an Asia-wide event entering its 10th year.
At the event, runners are encouraged to use reusable water bottes, and all single-use plastics will be banned. Participants at associated National Geographic Earth Day activities will also be encouraged to take the pledge to reduce their use of single-use plastic.
“As part of Planet or Plastic? and in celebration of Earth Day, we’re asking runners in Asia to choose the planet," says Keertan Adyanthaya, executive vice president, content & communications, FOX Networks Group Asia.
"As a global movement dedicated to raising awareness of pollution, Earth Day is the perfect moment to bring environmental issues around climate change, plastic pollution and the health of marine life into the spotlight. Raising awareness of these critical issues through events such as the National Geographic Earth Day Run is key to kick-starting lasting change across the region.”
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