UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution in Oceans and Soils.
Today, most of the materials we use in day-to-day life are made of plastic. It is estimate that, on average, a person produces 105kg of plastic waste per year. All these wastes are either dispose off in the garbage bin or thrown in the ocean and nearby river bodies. As plastics are unnatural products, there are no organisms capable of decomposing the material. Due to plastics lacking decomposable capacity when disposed of in oceans harms the aqua and marine life. The notable impacts of plastic debris are the ingestion, suffocation, and entanglement of millions of marine species. Marine life often mistakes plastic waste for prey, filling their stomachs and causing starvation.
Remains of plastic material on land harm the environment. To tackle rising plastic pollution, the UN approved a Global Plastic Pollution Treaty.
What do the Global Plastic Pollution Treaty states?
Plastic pollution surged from 2 to 348 million tonnes globally between 1950 and 2017. Further, it is estimate that plastic pollution will rise to 600 million tonnes in 2024.11 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the ocean annually, risking a tripling by 2040 without action.
Global plastic waste production doubled to 352 million tonnes since 2000, per the OECD.
However, the disposal of plastic is only 19% of incineration, 50% end up in landfills; 22% is either dump in irregular sites, burnt in open spaces, or leaked into the environment. Only 9% of plastic waste is recycle. To stop these unhealthy plastic disposal practices, Global Plastic Pollution Treaty is launch. The agreement establishes an intergovernmental committee to create a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including the marine environment. The committee formed will start working on the agreement in the second half of the year with the ambition of achieving its work by the end of 2024.
To control plastic pollution, the measure includes limiting the production of virgin plastic, the phasing out of single-use products, and the requirement to recycle. It is mandatory to develop binding and voluntary measures, set global targets, and produce mechanisms for tracking processes and ensuring accountability. The resolution also states to provide financial assistance to help developing countries initiate the action.
Dame Ellen MacArthur sees the resolution as a crucial step in combating global plastic waste and pollution. She further noted that the mandate agreed by UN members should open the door to a legally binding treaty that works with the root cause of plastic contamination and not just the symptoms.
One hundred seventy-five countries agreed to develop the first legally binding treaty on plastic contamination. With the help of this treaty, millions of tonnes of plastic would be prevent from contaminating the ocean, soil, and air every year. Launching the plastic pollution control treaty is just a starting point, but we as a person can minimize using plastic products. If we use plastic products, we must avoid disposing them in landfills or river bodies. We must adopt eco-friendly solutions such as using Eco-friendly Smokeless Incinerators to dispose of plastic waste.