WWF is calling on governments to support global bans and phase out single-use plastic products that are “most dangerous and unnecessary”, such as microplastics found in cutlery, e-cigarettes and cosmetics, among others. The request comes ahead of UN talks on a global treaty on plastic pollution, which will take place in Paris from May 29 to June 2, 2023.
In a series of new reports published today – requested by WWF and carried out by Eunomia – these plastics are among the most polluting to the environment in addition to proposing global control measures needed to eliminate, reduce or safely manage them. Harmful plastic products have been identified. WWF has called for these measures to be included in the text of the treaty, which will be published in December 2023, ahead of the next round of talks.
Research offers solutions on how to address the most pressing plastic pollution challenges under the new global treaty, dividing plastic products into two groups: those that can be significantly reduced or eliminated in the short term (Class I) And which cannot be done at present. Can be eliminated or significantly reduced, but requires comprehensive control measures to promote recycling and safe management and disposal (Category II).
The analysis divides products into broad categories based on the risk of contamination, which WWF says will help drive effective regulation globally, rather than legislating on individual plastic items, which can be complex and create potential regulatory gaps. can give birth to
Recognizing the complex, interconnected and pervasive relationship that society has established with plastics, the analysis also considers the potentially unintended consequences of eliminating or replacing any type of plastic on the environment, health and society.
“We are trapped in a system where we can produce far more plastic than any one country can. This has created a crisis of plastic pollution that affects both the environment and society.
Marco Lambertini, WWF Special Envoy.
He added that “if we don’t act now, the situation will get worse. If we continue on this path, by 2040, global plastic production will double, plastic leaking into our oceans will triple, and our oceans will be destroyed.” The total amount of plastic pollution in the world will quadruple. We cannot let this happen. Plastic pollution is a global problem that requires a global solution. Negotiators should heed the recommendations of this report and seek binding, comprehensive and specific global regulations. Let’s work together to create a treaty that could turn the tide on the plastics crisis.”
Although plastic is cheap and versatile, with myriad uses across many industries, about half of it is used to make products with very short lifespans or single-uses – but can take hundreds of years to degrade. Furthermore, most of these are used in high- and upper-middle-income countries. Research shows that by 2015, 60% of all plastics produced will already have reached the end of their useful life and will be discarded. Globally, less than 10% of plastic products are recycled.
“Latin America and the Caribbean have made progress in regulating high-risk plastics, such as the prohibition or elimination of single-use plastic products; However, the regulations are fragmented and varied, and fail to address transboundary impacts on the scale needed to protect nature, people and their livelihoods from plastic pollution,” said Roberto Troya, Regional Director for Latin America and the WWF Caribbean.
“There is no logical reason to keep many of the world’s single-use plastic products in circulation when we know they are causing so much harm, polluting waterways, choking the oceans and even that are even getting into our own food. Industry has the knowledge and technology at its fingertips to provide more sustainable alternatives. We need to do our part to support this transition, foster innovation and encourage trade in sustainable alternatives. need regulations and incentives.”
Despite regulation and voluntary measures at the national level, not enough has been done to prevent plastics from infiltrating the environment, and being distributed hundreds or even thousands of kilometers from a specific location. Single-use plastics, microplastics, and lost or discarded fishing gear, known as “ghost nets,” now make up most of the plastic pollution in the ocean.
“Current patterns of plastic production and consumption are environmentally and socially unsustainable, somewhat risky and unnecessary plastic products such as the global elimination of single-use plastics are vital to reducing the amount of plastic that finds its way into nature , and focuses on the transition towards a circular, safe and inclusive economy, said Alejandra Gonzalez, WWF Plastics Policy Coordinator in Latin America and the Caribbean.
« States have a unique opportunity to develop a global treaty that effectively addresses the main causes of pollution, reaffirming their commitment to Paris Plastics with concrete proposals to protect the environment and people from the effects of pollution States will have a platform to do this. Gonzalez.
After a promising start at the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) last year, negotiators will now need to work on the details of the treaty text to more effectively and equitably address plastic pollution.