In all truth, we have not been good guests towards Mother Earth. We have not really returned her gesture of hospitality. We have been rude and uncaring to her in our technological journey through civilization. One of the biggest bad manners of humanity has been pollution on a massive scale. One of those forms of pollution has been plastic waste that is ending up in our oceans on a scale that is only now coming to our conscious awareness.
The good news for earth lovers is that over 200 countries have unified in a combined move to stop ocean plastic waste. These nations consolidated their advocacy for climate change with action. Such action involved these nations coming together in Nairobi, Kenya to sign a UN resolution aimed at dramatically reducing the oceans with plastics.
This UN resolution is technically not a treaty, hence it is non-binding. But we can’t deny that this is a move in a direction that could mature into a much-anticipated treaty. The treaty was memorably promulgated by the government of Norway.
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Announcing the resolution, Sam Barrat, serving as the chief of public advocacy at UNEP explained, “While this is not a treaty, significant progress is being made … 39 governments announced new commitments to reduce the amount of plastic going into the sea.”
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has estimated that with the current pace of ocean plastic pollution, there could be more plastic in the sea compared to actual fish by the year 2050.
By these figures, a massive 8 million tonnes of plastics are abandoned in the ocean on an annual basis. This plastic doesn’t just stay idly and innocently in the sea. It ends up killing marine life.
China is the biggest culprit in ocean plastic waste pollution. In fact, the top 6 nations that produce the most plastic waste are from the Asian continent. But China has taken up the challenge to work to reduce its production of plastics, as well as its structural system of disposing plastic waste into the sea. There has been an acute political will from China to operationally cut down on its plastic waste production.
A statement coming from Erik Solheim, who heads the UNEP, emphasized the malaise of the world’s plastic pollution in the ocean does indeed have a global solution, continues to give what many would consider all-too-obvious suggestions, by saying,
“Let’s abolish products that we do not need, if you go to tourist places like Bali, a huge amount of the plastic picked from the oceans are actually straws.”
In the end, the amount of plastic in the oceans is no doubt a product of an instant gratification society, where commercialism-at-all-costs is clearly starting to make its negative consequences felt. What are you doing to reduce the amount of plastic you put in the environment, landfills and oceans?