The United Nations has come to an exciting agreement in regards to the burning plastic pollution problem and the very well-being of our planet. The nations agreed that we need to completely stop plastic waste from entering the world’s oceans – and their resolution is to be sealed on December 6, 2017.
The UN resolution is not legally binding and has no timetable, BBC News reports, but it is a big step forward in the matter of ocean preservation and curbing the overwhelming plastic pollution of our planet. Ministers at an environmental summit in Kenya believe that the agreement will be the beginning of much tougher policies concerning plastic waste disposal and will send a clear signal to businesses.
Under the proposal, nations’ governments would set up an international task force that would advise countries on ways they can fight plastic pollution. Around 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year and only around 15 percent of it ends up recycled, so it’s no wonder the UN’s oceans chief described this issue as a “planetary crisis.”
Unfortunately, a stronger motion was rejected after the United States would not agree to any specific and internationally settled environmental goals.
A point of contention in the plan is the delegates’ request to include businesses on the global task force. The global plastic issue clearly does not stand a chance of being solved without businesses, but environmental groups point out that some companies in the plastics industry have been long lobbying against restrictions which would hurt their business.
“We need to bring on board those companies that want to change things, then look at taxes and regulations to make more companies act sustainably,” Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s environment minister, told BBC News. “We also need to mobilize businesses like aquaculture that suffer from marine pollution.”
The fact that the ministers are beginning to take the problem of plastic waste more seriously has been applauded by environmentalists – but they also noted that we urgently need a much quicker action in the matter at hand. “At last we are seeing some action on this issue, but we still don’t have the urgency we need. The problem needs solving right now,” said Li Lin from WWF.
“Of course we would have liked to have gone further, but this meeting’s made real progress,” the UN’s spokesman Sam Barratt told BBC News. “There’s now a sense of urgency and energy behind the issue that we haven’t quite seen before. What is obvious, though, is that the UN can’t solve this problem on its own. We need to do it in partnership with governments, businesses and even individuals.”
Fortunately, our decisions as consumers and individuals do matter – and we can make a difference by making conscious choices in our everyday life. The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic a year. If everyone in the U.S. alone were to stop using plastic that would keep over 555 billion pounds of plastic out of the oceans! That’s a major win! By simply looking at the many disposable items that we use every day and looking for reusable alternatives, we can all make a HUGE impact for the planet.
For more tips and tricks on how to reduce your personal plastic use, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
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