21 Aug 2018

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UN presents first global outlook against plastic pollution

GENEVA, June 5 (Xinhua) — The UN Environment Program (UNEP) released on Tuesday the first comprehensive global assessment of government action against plastic pollution, and also offered a roadmap for policymakers worldwide.

A report released on World Environment Day 2018, titled Single-use Plastics: A Road Map for Sustainability, examines the state of plastic pollution in 2018 and analyzes the best practices and lessons learned from cases studies on single-use bans, levies and other forms of government intervention.

This global outlook, developed in cooperation with the Indian government, presents case studies from more than 60 countries. The report analyzes the complex relationships in our plastics economy and offers an approach to rethink how the world produces, uses and manages single-use plastics.

The report specifically recommends that policy makers take actions to improve waste management, promote eco-friendly alternatives, educate consumers, enable voluntary reduction strategies and successfully implement bans or levies on the use and sale of single-use plastics.

“The assessment shows that action can be painless and profitable, with huge gains for people and the planet that help avert the costly downstream costs of pollution,” said UNEP head Erik Solheim. “Plastic isn’t the problem. It’s what we do with it.”

Through the case studies researchers found that targeted levies and bans, where properly planned and enforced, have been among the most effective strategies to limit overuse of disposable plastic products.

However, the report also cites a fundamental need for broader cooperation from business and private sector stakeholders, offering a roadmap for upstream solutions, including extended producer responsibility and incentives for adoption of a more circular economy approach to plastic production and consumption.

The report recognizes that single-use plastic waste generation and waste management practices differ across regions. While no single measure against pollution will be equally effective everywhere, the report outlines a set of universal steps for policymakers to tackle the issue in their communities.

Since 1974, the World Environment Day on every June 5 has served as the United Nation’s principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the environment.

Under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution,” World Environment Day 2018 issued a call to action to individuals, governments, the public and the private sector to examine joint solutions to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places.

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