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A recently released policy analysis from Duke University revealed that over the past decade, governments at every level have taken actions to prevent plastic waste from making it into the ocean. As Phys explained, the analysis finds, however, that the vast majority of new policies have focused specifically on plastic shopping bags and more data needs to be collected to see how successful these policy measures have been.
However, in order to truly tackle the breadth of the ocean plastic crisis policy has to extend far beyond plastic bag bans, especially because plastic production is expected to grow over the coming decade.
Why This Matters:As Pew wrote, it’s important that plastic waste management policies that leaders craft address multiple stages of plastic product lifecycles and encompass the different sources of plastic waste, including microplastics. And while the Duke team found that the adoption of policies addressing multiple stages of the plastic product lifecycle jumped from only 25% from 2000 to 2005 to 59% by 2018, the COVID-19 crisis is setting the word back on its previous commitments.
International Commitment: In addition to better policies to manage waste, the world needs an international agreement on marine plastic pollution. A piece written by a team of marine biologists in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences explained that,
Plastic pollution has received little attention in terms of international agreements—a notable contrast to carbon emissions and other global pollutants, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). There are many regional, national, and international strategies aimed at preventing and mitigating plastic pollution, but none has a level of commitment that scales with the global magnitude and accelerating growth of the problem.
One such component of an international agreement could include a renewed commitment to ensure that all people have access to clean drinking water. Currently, an estimated two billion people are forced to buy their drinking water in plastic bottles because local piped water supplies are unsafe which greatly contributes to plastic waste in waterways and the ocean.
This past July, all eyes were on Tokyo when over 10,000 Olympians from 206 nations descended on the city to make history. Despite a decrease in carbon emissions due to COVID-19 and fewer traveling spectators, the games still produced 2.3 million tons of CO2. In 2021, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) pledged to reduce […]
Startups across the country are on a mission to provide sustainable food packaging options and close the plastic loop, especially prompted by the pandemic take-out boom. Over 70% of Americans order delivery one to three times a week, creating hundreds of billions of single-use bowls, bags, utensils, and more. But some innovative companies have […]
Five winners have been awarded £1 million each by Prince William’s Earthshot Prize in recognition for their sustainability and conservation efforts. The winners across five categories are: coral-growing and reef-restoring enterprise Coral Vita; the Republic of Costa Rica for its programs in forest restoration; the company Takachar whose technology can turn agricultural waste into sellable […]
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