According to the report of the United Nations Environment Program, Breaking the Plastic WaveCurrently, 11 million tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans every year, the equivalent of a garbage truck every minute.
If current policies are maintained, plastic municipal solid waste is expected to double by 2040, plastic dumped into the oceans is expected to nearly triple, and the amount of plastic in the oceans could even quadruple by this date.7
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As part of the Pollution Combat Day, which will take place on the 14th, the Land Use Planning Study Group (GEOTA) is calling for a change in consumption habits and new policies that change the plastics economy.
“Prohibiting plastic bags, picking up trash on the beaches, recycling, or buying a glass bottle, while essential, will not be enough to contain the pollution of the oceans. Reducing plastic waste requires systemic policies and not one-off actions. The need to reduce plastic waste is more than important, it is urgent”, warns João Dias Coelho, President of GEOTA.
Current commitments by governments and industry will only reduce the amount of plastic dumped into the ocean by 7% by 2040. Plastic that remains in the ocean for hundreds of years is not biodegradable and the amount accumulated under current policies could reach 600 million tons by 2040, with the equivalent weight of more than 3 million blue whales.
A country can implement the use of recycled plastic, but if it does not have a collection process, a recycling system and a market for the material to be reused, there is no significant impact on combating pollution. “It is important for government entities to realize that nature conservation is not done only with individual gestures and that resources that we currently take for granted may end up in the very near future. New and urgent policies must focus on systemic change in the plastics economy”, adds João Dias Coelho.
The report also exposes the numerous and complex challenges that prevent the planet from reaching the goal of zero plastic by 2050, listing a series of recommendations that include the need for change in the production and consumption of plastic, the importance of a circular economy and the urgency in the creation of programs to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of plastic policies in combating pollution.
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