The fight to end plastic pollution just got closer!
We're in a plastic pollution epidemic. By 2040 it is estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic is destined for our environment - both on land and in the ocean, unless action is taken. One country can't tackle the problem; we need a worldwide solution.
Single-use plastics, such as bottles, bags and food packages, are the most commonly discarded type of plastic. Made almost exclusively from fossil fuels, these “throwaway” plastics often end their short lifecycle polluting the oceans, being burned or dumped into landfills.
"In the space of just one human lifetime, we have caused unimaginable damage to the global environment, choking every single part of the global ocean with plastic pollution," said Lord Zac Goldsmith, government minister for the international environment speaking at the U.N. Environment Assembly early this month.
Can any of us even imagine a world free of plastic pollution?
Now we can. This March, history has been made, with nearly 200 countries agreeing to start negotiations on an international agreement to address the "plastic crisis". Finally, we can begin to close this ugly chapter and hope for a future free of plastic pollution.
What happens now?
To take on these ambitious environmental actions, UN members are tasked with developing an over-arching framework for reducing plastic waste worldwide. The resolution will address the entire lifecycle of plastic, including production, design and disposal, which will be developed over the next two years. To ensure we reach globally reach this goal, environmental groups are calling for clear and robust global standards that incentivise nations to stick to common rules and regulations over plastics while penalising harmful products and practices.
In the meantime, we're reminded of this famous Robert Swan quote "the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it." We all have a responsibility to reduce plastic waste and do what we can to reduce our daily plastic consumption.