Plan to reduce plastic pollution by 2040 | In deep

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Plastic is a material that does not biodegrade, compared to others, with various consequences derived from its indiscriminate use, including pollution of the oceans, affecting the food chain and ending wildlife.


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The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) had already warned at the time that, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the use of plastics skyrocketed in such a way that, in some countries, recycling systems collapsed .

According to the entity, annually, more than 280 million tons of short-lived plastic products end up in the trash and can take hundreds of years to decompose.

In 2021, he published a study warning that plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems has grown considerably in recent years and they expect it to "double by 2030, with dire consequences for health, the economy, biodiversity and the climate." ”.

Faced with this situation, UNEP shared a report last May in which it indicated a series of concrete measures to deal with plastic pollution.

It is a roadmap to reduce pollution by 80 percent from now until 2040.

End plastic pollution

The document is entitled Turning off the tap: how the world can end plastic pollution and create a circular economy, and it states that it is possible to achieve the goal if countries and companies implement profound changes in their action plans and in the markets through existing technologies.

The executive director of Pnuma, Inger Andersen, pointed out at the time that the way in which plastics are produced, used and disposed of "is polluting ecosystems, creating risks for human health and destabilizing the climate".

"People from the poorest nations and communities suffer the most, as in the entire triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution," the official said.

In addition, he stated that this material has become disastrous "at least in the way we use it."

circular market

In the interest of reducing plastic pollution by 80 percent by 2040, the report outlines several changes needed in the market:

- Reuse: including refillable bottles, bulk dispensers, deposit and return systems, among others; the reduction would be 30 percent.

- Recycle: the document maintains that recycling must become the most stable and profitable company.

- Reorient and diversify: it is urged to replace products, such as plastic wrappers, bags and food items, with ones made with alternative materials such as paper or others that are biodegradable, which would mean a 17 percent decrease in contamination .

Applying these measures, and making a projection towards 2040, it is still necessary to deal with 100 million metric tons of plastics from products that are single-use and short-lived.

But this can be managed by enforcing rules for safe and effective disposal, according to the agency, holding those who make products that release microplastics accountable, and banning exports of plastic waste.

Making the switch to a circular economy saves $1.27 trillion, considering recycling costs and revenue. In addition, it would generate an increase of 700,000 jobs.

"Another 3.25 trillion dollars would be saved thanks to external factors such as improved health and climate, reduced air pollution and degradation of marine ecosystems, and costs related to litigation," highlights an information note from the United Nations Organization (UNO).

UNEP has reiterated the need for a shift towards circular approaches, as well as sustainable consumption and production practices, and for greater consumer awareness to make more responsible choices in this area to further contribute to protection and recovery of the planet.

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Nathan Rivera
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