SOCIETY


Rate of plastic pollution will double by 2030 as report calls for end to single-use plastics

Baku, March 7, AZERTAC

On average, we each use 53 kilograms of plastic a year and generate a collective total of more than 300 million tonnes of plastic waste. By 2030, this is predicted to double, with the brunt of the impacts expected to hit our oceans. These are just some of the figures to come from WWF's global plastic report, Solving Plastic Through Accountability, released today. The report urges policy makers to draft a global, legally binding agreement to stop plastic entering marine environments, and to establish strong national targets to cut down on plastic use.

About 40 per cent of plastics we consume today are single-use — things like cutlery, plates, food containers, electronics packaging. Single-use plastics simply have to go, according to Richard Leck, WWF's Head of Oceans and Sustainable Development. "In terms of the calls to action, absolutely the ban around single-use plastics is very important," he said. "There needs to be incentives for producers to use products that aren't single use." To help shift us towards a circular economy, single-use plastic needs to be more expensive to produce, according to Mr Leck. For that to happen, producers need to be accountable for the entire lifecycle of their products. For instance, a soft-drink bottle floating in the ocean must be the property of the company that made the bottle, and they must have factored in the cost of retrieving the bottle into their business model. "The issue around plastic is the classic example of 'who pays?' At the moment, the polluters aren't paying," he said. "We have to make sure that the cost of plastics to nature is incorporated into the price." While plastic is cheap for manufactures to produce, the UN Environment Program estimates ocean plastic pollution costs around $US8 billion each year through impacts on things like fisheries, tourism and maritime operators.

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