The Pact signifies the support and agreement of most world countries (more than 186 Nations) that they would monitor and track movement of perilous plastic waste beyond their border areas, in a bid to control worldwide plastic pollution. United States, ruefully refrained to be a party to this ‘historic’ Pact.
“A mammoth wave of plastic waste could flood the U.S.” a study confirms. Following China’s decision to halt import of plastic waste from affluent countries, especially from the US, States that include Massachusetts and Oregon have lifted restrictions against throwing recyclable material into landfills to grant the operation relief.
“If Europe and other countries thrash about like the United States”, according to the study by researchers at the University of Georgia released sometime ago, “an estimated 111 million metric tons of plastic waste will pile up by 2030.” Considered in terms of the volume of domestic scrap exported to China, the researchers estimate that the United States will have to contend with 37 million metric tons of extra waste, a volume far beyond what the country can tackle.
Rolph Payet of the United Nations Environment Program observed, the “historic” agreement linked to U.N.-supported Basel Convention means countries need to monitor and track movements of plastic waste outside their borders.
“It’s sending a very strong political signal to the rest of the world — to the private sector, to the consumer market — that we need to do something,” Payet said. “Countries have decided to do something which will translate into real action on the ground.”
“The deal affects products used in a wide array of industries, such as health care, technology, aerospace, fashion, and food and beverages, to name a few.”
“Countries will have to figure out their own ways of adhering to the accord,” Payet said. “Even the few non-signatory countries, like the United States, could be impacted when they ship plastic waste to countries that are on board, “ he continued.
However, Payet credited Norway for leading the initiative, which first was presented in September, last year. The time from then to approval was a blistering pace of change by traditional U.N. standards.
The framework “is historic in the sense that it is legally binding,” Payet argued. “They (the countries) have managed to use an existing international instrument to put in place those measures.”
No one knows for sure how much unrecycled plastic waste ends up in the ocean, earth’s last sink. Jenna Jambeck, a University of Georgia engineering professor, caught everyone’s attention sometime ago with a rough estimate: Between 5.3 million and 14 million tons each year just from coastal regions. Most of it isn’t thrown off ships, she and her colleagues say, but is dumped carelessly on land or in rivers, mostly in Asia.
It is then blown or washed into the sea. Imagine five plastic grocery bags stuffed with plastic trash, Jambeck says, sitting on every foot of coastline around the world—that would correspond to about 8.8 million tons, her middle-of-the-road estimate of what the ocean gets from us annually. It’s unclear how long it will take for that plastic to completely biodegrade into its constituent molecules. Estimates range from 450 years to never.
What we learn from Earth Day’s official website
Source: Washington Post News Service
Plagiarism check Report: Plagiarism: 6%; unique: 94% [definitions and quoted statements exempted]
Every year, approximately 8 million metric tons of plastics escape to our oceans. This overwhelming figure doesn’t mean much to most people, as it is hardly understandable. But the consequences of it on our environment are very clear: “from poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our streams and landfills”, as Earth Day’s official website states.