More than seven out of 10 people support the issuance of mandatory standards in countries to end plastic pollution, showed a survey of 23,000 respondents in 34 countries, released this Wednesday the 23rd by the World Wide Fund for Nature or WWF and Australia-based environmental organization Plastic Free Foundation.
Recycling plastic packaging
The survey “is proof that there is an overwhelming demand for a global treaty on plastic pollution that makes governments and the companies that produce it more accountable,” said Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, executive director of the Plastic Free Foundation.
The proposal that received the most support (78%) was to hold manufacturers and retailers accountable for reducing, reusing and recycling plastic packaging.
They are followed with high support (77%) by the proposals to ban plastics that are difficult to recycle and to require the labelling of plastic products so that they are clearly classified according to whether they can be reused, recycled or as a final destination.
For 76% of respondents, manufacturers should be forced to use recycled material in products that contain plastic, and 75% supported a ban on single-use plastics.
The survey, conducted in countries on five continents and disseminated in this Swiss city, reached six Latin American nations. In Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, all proposals exceeded 80% support, and in Brazil support exceeded 70% on average.
Proposals such as eliminating single-use plastics received less support in some developed economies, including Japan (54%), Israel (60%), the United States and Sweden (63%), and Canada and Singapore (69%).
“We cannot allow weak measures to determine our future. We urge governments to ensure that the urgency of the plastic pollution crisis which has damaged our environments, ecosystems and countless species, including the risk to human health is present in all decisions made,’ said Eirik Lindebjerg.
WWF’s report is published five days before the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (CNI) meets to develop a legally binding international instrument on plastic pollution, established by the United Nations Environment Assembly.
Plastic pollution of oceans
The UNEA CNI meeting will take place in Punta del Este, Uruguay, from November 28 to December 4, and will be preceded by a ‘multi-stakeholder forum’, which should include governments, the private sector, scientists, researchers and civil society organizations
The emphasis of those meetings is expected to be on plastic pollution of the oceans and other aquatic spaces, and the search for a binding United Nations treaty by 2025.
Plastic is the largest, most damaging and most persistent fraction of marine debris, accounting for at least 85% of all marine debris. Globally, 7 billion of the 9.2 billion tons of cumulative plastic production between 1950 and 2017 became waste.
Three-quarters of this waste was discarded and deposited in landfills, was part of uncontrolled and poorly managed flows, or was dumped or abandoned in the environment, including in the sea, and threatens to poison all marine species.
Plastic pollution crisis
It also impacts the climate, since its manufacture is related to the production of 1.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2), which could reach 6.5 gigatons in 2050, 15% of the world’s carbon budget, according to studies of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Eirik Lindebjerg, WWF’s global plastics policy leader, said that ‘over the next two years, the negotiation process is likely to expose differences in what countries want from a global plastics treaty’ and ‘we cannot allow weak measures to determine our future’.
“We urge governments to ensure that the urgency of the plastic pollution crisis, which has damaged our environments, ecosystems and countless species, including the risk to human health, is present in all decisions made,” Lindebjerg concluded.
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