Will single-use plastics be a thing of the past? The answer is hopefully yes, thanks to the announcement of a new global treaty that would tackle the world’s plastic epidemic.
We’ve all heard the incriminating facts about plastic, which include clogging up our oceans, killing wildlife, and impacting all levels of the food chain. What’s more – the issue of plastic pollution is not a localised problem, but a global one.
According to the UN Environment Programme, plastic pollution soared from two million tonnes in 1950, to 348 million tonnes in 2017, becoming a global industry valued at $522.6 billion. It is expected to double in capacity, by 2040.
At a meeting of the UN Environmental Assembly in Nairobi last week, 175 UN member states agreed to start international negotiations on drawing up a global plastics treaty, which would set rules on the production, usage and disposal of plastics. The treaty is planned to come into effect in 2024, with legally binding rules and regulations.
Similarly to the Paris Agreement on climate change, the proposed plastic pollution treaty is described by conservation organisation WWF as one of the world’s most ambitious environmental actions since the 1989 Montreal Protocol, which helped phase out ozone-depleting substances.
“Today we wrote history. Plastic pollution has grown into an epidemic,” said Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s minister for environment and climate and the assembly’s president. “With today’s resolution we are officially on track for a cure.”
What you can do
As a consumer, you can still do your part in helping to reduce plastic pollution. From refusing single-use cutlery on your next delivery order to bringing your own coffee cup and water bottle around town, every action – big or small – helps!
Read more: 8 simple swaps for single-use plastics
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