WWF calls for a global ban on harmful and unnecessary single-use plastic products

Photo illustration: Pixabay

The World Organization for Nature Protection WWF calls on governments to support global bans and the gradual abolition of harmful single-use plastic products such as plastic cutlery, e-cigarettes, microplastics in cosmetics, etc. This appeal comes ahead of the negotiations on the UN agreement on plastic pollution, which will be held in Paris from May 29 to June 2, 2023.

WWF has commissioned a series of new reports, published today, which identify the most harmful plastic products polluting the environment and propose the global control measures necessary to eliminate, reduce or safely manage these items. The organization advocates that these measures be included in the text of the agreement that will be published ahead of the next round of negotiations in December 2023.

The research offers a number of options that can contribute to solving the most pressing challenges of plastic pollution as part of the new global agreement, by dividing plastic products into two groups – those that we can significantly reduce or eliminate in the short term (class I) and those that we currently cannot significantly to reduce or eliminate, but require global control measures to promote recycling and responsible management and disposal (class II). The analysis divides products into broad categories based on pollution risk, which WWF believes will help facilitate meaningful regulation at a global level, rather than legislating for individual plastic items – which can be complex and create potential legal loopholes.

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“We are locked in a system where we produce an amount of plastic that is far greater than any country in the world can properly “carry” on its back. This leads to a pollution crisis, and it is the most vulnerable group of people who are “turning their backs” on it – average citizens, not the rich,” says Nataša Kalauz, executive director of WWF Adria. “If we don’t act immediately, the situation will only get worse. “According to current knowledge, by 2040 global plastic production will be doubled,” Kalauz pointed out.

Photo illustration: Unsplash (Naja Bertolt)

Although plastics are cheap and versatile, with unlimited uses in many industries, almost half of all plastics are used to produce short-lived or disposable products that take hundreds of years to degrade, and most are used in high- and middle-income countries. Unfortunately, recycling is not enough because less than 10 percent of plastic products are recycled globally.

Aware of this huge problem, WWF Adria, as the regional branch of the world organization for nature protection, has started with activities aimed at solving the plastic problem, including the activities of extracting residual fishing gear from the sea, which can continue to have a fishing function for hundreds of years, and at the same time is huge pollutant – from plastic.

“But it’s not just about the plastic-polluted sea, look at our rivers, plastic bags flying on tree branches or parks where you can hardly see the grass because of empty plastic packaging… It’s not just about pollution, but also about the quality of our life and the environment, that is why it is important that we act in a unified manner. Also, we would like to see a much greater willingness of the corporate sector to really tackle this problem,” concludes Kalauz.

Eliminating high-risk and unnecessary single-use plastics is the first step towards creating a fairer and circular economy, but the treaty must ensure the recognition and inclusion of those who might be affected by such bans, such as waste workers. The negotiations in Paris are a unique opportunity to propose global measures that could finally move us away from a one-sided way of thinking – the one that encourages a double crisis – the crisis of nature and climate. In this way, we could be directed towards the path of positive influence on nature, and therefore towards our own survival.

Source: WWF

Source: Energetski Portal by energetskiportal.rs.

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