The UN Environment Programme released a report last year about how plastic pollution – and by virtue, its production – has a disproportionate impact on marginalised communities and countries. It found that these communities experienced high rates of environmental injustice, and that these communities were most likely to comprise people of colour. The people of colour living in these frontline communities not only experienced the discomfort of superficial environmental degradation due to plastic pollution, but they were also more likely to fall ill from air pollution surrounding the plants. Some of which have had to migrate to these places in search of low-paying jobs. And, low-wage earners are not likely to miss work and seek medical attention in fear of job loss.
We need a solution that matches the scale of the problem, and a global treaty on plastic is that solution. However, we need a strong global plastic treaty that ensures a holistic approach to ending the plastic pollution crisis and not one that is laced with loopholes which allows polluters to continue with their ambitions of flooding the world with plastic.
A strong global plastic treaty means creating a legally binding instrument to ensure compliance from governments and industry; keeping oil and gas in the ground, and protecting our climate; big brands switching to refill and reuse systems and reducing single use plastic pollution; holding countries accountable for managing their own waste and ending waste colonialism; and governments working to ensure a just transition for workers and the health of the most affected communities. (source: greenpeace.org)
As individuals, we can contribute to the solution by mainly eliminating single-use plastics from our lives. There are so many natural eco-friendly alternatives to what have become plastic objects of daily use, for the home, the office, the school, for personal use. If we just pay attention to our choices when buying the products we need, we can make a significant contribution to the solution. The ocean is made of countless drops.
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