Global Movement Fights Plastic Pollution
Scientists predict that without urgent action there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Yet, despite the danger that plastic pollution poses to our planet and to human health, industry and governments have so far failed to face up to the systemic change required to solve the issue.
That’s why a network of 100 NGOs, including EarthShare members Surfrider Foundation, Clean Water Action, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, and Oceana, just released a groundbreaking new global vision for a future free from plastic pollution.
The vision’s includes 10 principles that represent the first step in a global movement to change society's perception and use of plastics.
Some of these principles include prioritizing waste reduction; building a materials lifecycle that sustains the health of the people and the planet; and working with producers and workers to change the system.
"This is the first time that groups from all around the world have come together to find a common solution to plastic pollution,” said Monica Wilson from GAIA. “It shows the evolution of a movement that is pushing governments, cities and major companies to solve this ever-growing problem. This isn’t just about managing the problem. It’s about preventing it in the first place.”
The environmental impacts of plastic pollution are well understood. A significant amount of plastic production is for single-use disposable applications. Nearly a third of plastic packaging escapes collection systems and winds up in the oceans. Once there, sunlight and ocean currents shred plastic debris into smaller particles called microplastics, which attract and concentrate toxic chemicals up the marine food chain and into our bodies.
Plastic is also a human rights issue. Increasingly, consumer goods companies sell goods wrapped in plastic into markets without waste management systems that can adequately handle the materials. In the US, most plastic ends up in incinerators and landfills, endangering nearby communities, which are frequently low-income communities and communities of color.
It is clear that without strong and coordinated effort by policy makers, businesses will continue to use plastic indiscriminately and the pollution will intensify.
“For years, the plastics industry has been telling us that all plastics are recyclable, but what we find in the field demonstrates that we can not recycle our way out of the plastic pollution problem,” said Martin Bourque, Executive Director of the Ecology Center who runs the United States’ longest-operating curbside recycling program.
We call on US corporations and governments to lead the way to a future free from plastic pollution. We also stand in solidarity with people around the world who are implementing real community-based solutions.
To learn more, visit http://breakfreefromplastic.org/.