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After years of campaigning and raising awareness among anti-plastic activists, a global treaty to regulate plastic pollution and waste management may finally be on the cards. Amid the current G7 talks in Cornwall, leading packaging producers and charities are calling on the world’s richest democracies to take the lead on the issue, after more than 100 countries around the world pledged to support such a treaty earlier this year.
Currently, at least 100 countries around the world have declared they would be ready to support a global treaty to tackle the deluge of plastic waste that is polluting our oceans and the environment. Talks are underway, but those involved in the initial talks believe that as public pressure increases and industry buy-in increases, governments may soon reach a deal.
“This is a concrete problem that demands a concrete solution and a global agreement will provide it,” said Hugo-Maria Schally of the European Commission, quoted in National geography.
Now there have been growing calls for the G7 countries to show leadership in making a global plastics treaty a reality, given their enormous influence on other nations, their own disproportionate contributions to plastic pollution and their disproportionate contributions to plastic pollution. public commitments to fight the climate crisis.
The leaders, who are meeting in person in Cornwall this week, issued a statement committing to conserve the land, the oceans and protect the planet from the loss of biodiversity and the devastating consequences that will follow from the continued destruction of nature. But an open letter pushes to focus more on plastics.
“With the G7 summit meeting in June, now is the time to put a global plastics treaty on the agenda,” said the open letter, which was signed by activists and industry giants including British environmentalist Chris Packham and CPG majors like Nestle, Aldi and Co-op.
“More than 70 governments – including the UK – have already expressed support for such a treaty. And with G7 members credited with paving the way for the Paris climate deal, they stand ready to defend a similar treaty tackling the scourge of plastic pollution.
For years, scientists have said that the fight against plastics will be essential not only to protect animals, wildlife and nature, but is also an essential part of solving global warming, with production leading the giants. dirty oil and gas. To date, nearly three-quarters of all plastic produced is single-use, and production continues to increase and is expected to triple current levels by 2050.
Even if the world manages to reduce plastic production by 80%, we still have 710 million tonnes of plastic waste to deal with, scientists say.
These statistics offer insight into the vital importance of a global framework for solving the huge problem of plastic waste. For proponents of a global plastic waste treaty, although such agreements often last a long time, there is simply no other way but to deal with the problem internationally.
“We have to find a way to look at plastic with a global lens,” said Christina Dixon, ocean scientist at the Environmental Investigation Agency. National geography. “We have a material that pollutes throughout its life cycle and beyond borders. No country can meet the challenge on its own.
Growing support from the packaging and food industries themselves – companies that are a major source of the problem – is another sign that such a treaty is gaining momentum.
Not only have conglomerates like Nestlé signed on, the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), a global chemical industry lobby group, would now also be on board for the treaty. The chemical giants can be seen as the “real source” of the problem, a recent study finding that just 20 companies, many of which are petrochemicals, are responsible for making more than half of the world’s disposable plastic.
“We evolved our position as the situation evolved,” said Stewart Harris, ICCA Fellow, American Chemistry Council (ACC). “We now believe that a global instrument is needed to help us eliminate waste in the environment and help companies meet their voluntary commitments.”
Much of the business change is consumer push. Public opinion about the importance of plastic pollution has grown dramatically in recent years, with the topic even gaining ground over late-night TV reports like John Oliver’s. Last week tonight show and polls consistently show that consumers – especially Gen Z youth – demand much more action from businesses.
A recent global survey found that more than 8 in 10 consumers now expect businesses to help solve global climate and social justice issues. The same poll also found that since the pandemic, shoppers have been keeping brands and businesses on a higher level and more actively changing their own spending habits to walk a little lighter on the planet.
Main image courtesy of Unsplash.