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Romy de Weert, Change.inc May 2, 2022

In addition to plastic being a danger to the environment, biodiversity and humanity, its production creates a lot of greenhouse gases. Plastic is made from oil and that is anything but sustainable.

Scientists around the world warn in a letter that there must be a limit on plastic production. A cap, they say, is the only solution to stop the growing threat of plastic waste on the environment and ourselves.

Current plastic production is 450 million tons per year. By 2045, this will have doubled.

The letter, published in the scientific journal Science, comes in response to a United Nations meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. In it, world leaders, environment ministers and other organizations from 173 countries agreed to draft a global treaty against plastic pollution.

Experts say the agreement was “the most ambitious decision since the Montreal Protocol in 1989 to protect the ozone layer. But according to the researchers and authors of the letter, more needs to be done: there needs to be a brake on the production of plastic. “Current plastic production is 450 million tons per year. By 2045, this will have doubled,” observe the researchers from Germany, Norway, Sweden, the UK, the US, India and Canada.

Stop plastic production by 2040

Improved recycling and collection systems will not be enough to prevent plastic pollution on land and in oceans. “Because existing plastics and plastics in the environment break down into micro and nanoparticles, this form of pollution is irreparable and irreversible,” the letter states.

Something needs to be done on the production side, according to the researchers. “To stop plastic pollution, we need to stop any newly produced plastic by 2040.”

CO2 emissions

In addition to plastic being a danger to the environment, biodiversity and humanity, its production creates a lot of greenhouse gases. Plastic is made from oil and that is anything but sustainable.

“Even with the application of all the political and technological solutions available today, including substitution, improved recycling, waste management and circularity, the annual emissions of plastic to the environment can only be reduced by 79 percent in 20 years,” the scientists write.

Negotiations on plastic agreement

Government negotiations on a plastics agreement will begin on May 30. If it is up to the researcher, the production of plastic will be reduced and eventually stopped in the coming years.

The world population is also open to a plastic ban. Earlier, a poll by Ipsos, commissioned by The Plastic Free Foundation and the WWF, showed that three quarters of the world population is in favor of a ban on disposable plastic. At the time, the figures already showed the urgency of the demand for a global plastic treaty.