The world is drowning in plastic trash and the UN wants to do something to fix it. A weekly meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on plastic pollution held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, concluded last Friday (December 2).
It was a first, formal step towards a legally binding international treaty to tackle the global plastics problem.
But the INC will spend the next two years negotiating how binding the regulations will be. There is a problem here. Although most of the 1.800 participants in Uruguay ostensibly support ending plastic pollution, there are interests that pull in different directions.
Οι σκληροπυρηνικές χώρες και οι ακτιβιστές πιέζουν για ξεκάθαρες απαγορεύσεις στα “προβληματικά πλαστικά” και ορισμένα χημικά, καθώς και διεθνώς καθορισμένους κανονισμούς και αυστηρή παρακολούθηση της παραγωγής. Οι συνασπισμοί της βιομηχανίας πλαστικών – που συμπεριλαμβάνουν τους μεγαλύτερους παραγωγούς πλαστικών στον κόσμο, όπως η Nestle και η Unilever – ζητούν να δοθεί έμφαση στην ανακύκλωση και σε παγκόσμιους στόχους που ορίζονται από εθνικές προτεραιότητες.
The details of the treaty should be negotiated over the next two years. The High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, made up of 45 countries, calls for limiting single-use plastics found in packaging and consumer goods.
They make up half of the plastic waste produced today, so a restriction would greatly reduce pollution, and force a transformation in consumer behavior – and the companies that make their products – in the way they drink bottled water, order takeout or buy cleaning products and cosmetics.
An international standard for monitoring production will also try to ensure that plastics are chemically safe, truly recyclable and durable enough to be reused.
Of the approximately 10.000 chemicals used to make plastics, more than 2.400 have been found to be harmful, causing a range of health problems from asthma to infertility. The recycling not currently viable for most plastics, but better production monitoring could fundamentally change the environment.
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We are somewhere in 2008-2009 when a customer appeared who wanted a large loan from the bank. His financial data did not support the amount he was asking to get.
when I told him, he went to the manager of the store, they said something between them and he came back to me saying: the manager told me to tell you the truth. In the business room, I am the obvious businessman. Not the real one who is ... (he mentioned the name of a leading Greek tycoon).
He added that the garbage has a lot of "bread"... and that the essence lies in the concentration (due to the subsidies) of the waste and not in its treatment.
I admit that -at the time- I had a hard time understanding what he meant.
But I understood when the "fires" at the recycling collection points became ... a regime.
I also realized that there were gaps in recycling when I found out that companies selling soft drinks, "energy" and soft drinks that sell them in glass packaging will NOT accept the glass bottles, leading drinkers to throw away the glass packaging.