According to the UN’s Environment Program (UNEP), around one million plastic bottles are sold every minute, and five trillion plastic bags are used each year. The planet earth is covered by plastic. That isn’t exaggeration. Approximately half of this plastic is single-use, which means the goods are only used once or twice before being discarded in a landfill, incinerated, or, least likely, recycled at a facility.
Plastics that are only used once can hurt wildlife and clog our oceans. Micro plastics – microscopic particles of plastic trash — from single-use items such as candy wrappers and takeaway cartons have found their way into every part of the world. Worse still, plastic takes generations to disintegrate, implying that it will be with us for a very long time.
Representatives from more than 170 countries convened in Nairobi, Kenya, earlier this month for the UNEA-5, United Nations Environment Assembly to announce a mandate to create a legally-binding treaty to eradicate global plastic pollution. In 2024, the pact will be completed.
Some of the world’s largest food and beverage firms, whose products rely significantly on single-use plastic packaging, have endorsed the treaty demand. The conference took place in Nairobi. Coca-Cola, Colgate, Danone, Nestle, Pepsi, P&G, Walmart and Unilever, issued a statement supporting a treaty, providing a prospective deal considerable corporate engagement.
As companies face increasing pressure to decrease plastic pollution, a worldwide agreement might be our greatest option for reducing the destructive effects of plastic on the environment and human health — but only if it’s done correctly.
Only 9% of plastic has ever been recycled, and without substantial intervention, plastic output is anticipated to treble by 2050. By 2050, plastic is expected to account for 10 to 13% of the global carbon budget.
Plastic reduction objectives must be included in this pact, with an emphasis on phasing out non-recyclable plastic first and foremost. Because 99 percent of plastic is manufactured from fossil fuels, this will not only help to solve the plastic pollution problem, but also the climate crisis.
Addressing the toxic burden of plastic by phasing out harmful chemicals and fillers from recyclable plastic and establishing a fund for the repair of toxic pollutants linked with plastic should also be included in plastic reduction efforts.
The Montreal Protocol, which mandated the phase-out of hazardous chemicals that damage the ozone layer. In this accord, the same may be said about plastic.
The accord is expected to be supported by businesses. Scientific study on such pledges, on the other hand, emphasizes the significance of definitions and quantifiable goals. To put it another way, the success of the pact is contingent on aspects that we do not yet know.
The discussions on the plastic accord will first determine what should be included in the plastic life cycle. As a result, the agreement may become more focused on waste management. Waste management and recycling are critical, and worldwide efforts are required to establish the necessary infrastructure. However, trash management can only help to lessen the consequences of plastic usage, not eliminate it entirely. To remedy the problem, we must abandon the throwaway attitude and develop alternatives to single-use plastic.
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