The Expo Blog is a space for posts on the history, themes, legacies and experience of Expos. It includes articles from the BIE and external contributors.
Only nine per cent of all plastic ever produced has been recycled; 12 per cent has been incinerated and 79 per cent has ended up in landfill or the natural environment. Global production of plastic waste is about 300 million tonnes every year, almost equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. Plastic waste related to food and beverages – including plastic bottles, bags, straws, wrappers, cups and utensils – are a significant portion of this total.
When people are forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution or natural disaster, the provision of basic necessities is the utmost priority, but their welfare is also heavily dependent on the environment of where they settle. Deforestation, soil erosion and the depletion and pollution of water resources are among the most significant challenges that can be associated with the arrival and residency of internally displaced people and refuges.
Around the world, a staggering one billion people suffer from some form of preventable or treatable vision impairment. This ranges from moderate and severe vision impairment to blindness, with the leading cause being uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts. A lack of access to necessary medical equipment and professionals means that visual impairment is four times higher in in low- and middle-income countries compared to high-income regions.
The FAO estimates that around one third of global food production is lost or wasted each year, a subject that was at the heart of the most recent World Expo – Expo 2015 Milan, themed “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. This challenge is a global one – rich countries waste around the same amount of food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, hunger remains a global problem with around 9% of the world’s population lacking access to sufficient food.
Accessing mental health services can be a major challenge, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where more than 65 million people suffer from mental health issues. Care providers are stretched thin, with as few as one psychiatrist per 100,000 people in the MENA region, while social stigma, discrimination and neglect often prevent people from attending psychotherapy clinics or seeking help. With two-thirds of global population not seeking treatment because of these challenges, and suicide the second-highest cause of death among young people, the need for mental health services is greater than ever.