World Environment Day 2023 focuses on global plastic pollution

Are we drowning in a sea of plastic?

  • About 5 grams of microplastic – the weight of an average credit card – enters each person’s body every week.
  • Nanoplastic, whose particles are smaller than 100 nm, can interfere with the metabolic processes of liver and lung cells.
  • Plastic has even been found on Mount Everest and in Antarctica.
  • A plastic bag was found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench – 10,994 meters above sea level.
  • It is estimated that 19-23 million tons of plastic enter aquatic ecosystems.
  • Plastic pollution of soils is, depending on location, 4 to 23 times greater than that of the oceans.
    Plastic particles found in soil can be absorbed by crops (such as wheat).
  • Of the more than 400 million tons of plastic produced annually, as much as half is disposable, and less than 10% is recycled.

Plastic is flooding and poisoning our world!

World Environment Day #WorldEnvironmentDay established by the UN General Assembly is being celebrated for the 50th time this year, and since plastic is a global, serious problem, so this year’s celebration is focused on finding constructive solutions to the plastic problem.#BeatPlasticPollution!

In Poland, events to mark the holiday are coordinated by UNEP/GRID Warsaw as part of the #DlaPlanety.

Plastic pollution is a topic of great importance to the Foundation’s work.

We have been planting trees for more than 16 years, but we also organize a variety of environmental events, including educational projects on trash and recycling, as well as holding workshops to teach how to wisely give objects a second life. As the pilot study shows – also by planting trees, we can counteract the wave of plastic flooding the world.

Trees are vital to life across our planet, and we now know that they can play an important role in the fight against plastic pollution.

According to researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (Germany), birch trees absorb microplastic particles into their tissues, which means they clean the soil of microplastic in the process. While this is a recent discovery, it brings much hope that birch is not the only species with such properties. We are expecting good news on this matter, but of course we still have to wait for further official research.

Birch is one of the most recognizable trees in Poland – the white bark and delicate leaves leave no doubt.

It is a tree of great cultural significance, often appearing in literature and beliefs – soon Catholics, celebrating the day of Corpus Christi, will decorate their altars and then their homes with birch branches. According to beliefs, birch branches were supposed to protect the house from lightning strikes, guard against evil forces, disease and misfortune, and bring prosperity, including abundant crops.
Birch is a pioneer species, meaning that it appears first in non-forested areas and is well adapted to harsh conditions.

Silver birch (Betula pendula):

  • colonize nutrient-poor habitats,
  • grow very quickly in open spaces,
  • are resistant to frost and intense sunlight,
  • produce many small seeds, so they spread rapidly.

We choose birches when planning planting in difficult areas, such as in the municipality of Przedbórz, where together with Zentiva Polska Zentiva Polska we planted 500 birches.

We encourage everyone not only to make lifestyle changes, avoid plastics, properly separate and recycle plastic waste, but also – plant birch trees!


Microplastic inclusion in birch tree roots –