Plastic is truly ubiquitous. It’s in our clothes, our phones, our sunscreen. But also, increasingly, in marine food chains and in immense, floating garbage dumps in the oceans.

How do we fix this? Nations are trying to come up with an answer, and this year will be crucial. The talks, which began last year and are set to continue until 2023, will shape the expected plastics treaty by the end of 2024,

The dialogue must overcome two opposing views of plastic: that it is a technological marvel that has made the goods widely accessible and revolutionary medicineBut climate change is also a major contributor to biodiversity loss and pollution.

Rising worldwide consumption means that plastic waste entering waterways will more than double, and perhaps more than triple, by 2040. profit.

What is at stake here?

How badly do we need plastic?

While it is true that plastic is a major component in some very important things, such as medical equipment, research shows More than 40 percent of the plastic we use is packaging and generally single-use.

“Plastics are widespread,” said Carole Muffett, who heads the Center for International Environmental Law and has been closely following the treaty negotiations. “But that’s not the same as saying they’re actually necessary.”

After all, most of you probably remember the time when soda bottles were refillable and made of glass. going back to that system alone a great impact,

Yet, changing our ways will be incredibly difficult. Grocery shopping used to be plastic free. But without meaningful changes in policy, Muffet said, going back on that would be very difficult. A reporter for NPR recently proved this when she Tried to Avoid Plastic at the Grocery Store Only for one week.

Why is plastic harmful?

Plastics have a role to play in both the climate and biodiversity crises.

It accounts for 3.4 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, mostly because most of them are produced fossil fuel, it is kill marine life Because it enters food chains or entangles animals. Plastic particles can get into soil, water, air and even us. Some fear that plastic is also interfering with the oceans’ ability to carbon capture,

“If you ask me what the potential effects of the global plastics crisis are, we are beginning to understand it,” Muffet told me.

A lot of plastic is also made from toxic chemicals, which makes it not only harmful to us and life in general, but also very difficult to recycle. improving it would be one of the treaty major goal,

What are the issues dividing the nations?

Muffet explained that there are basically two sides to a negotiation.

50 countries have joined High ambition coalition to end plastic pollutionWhich is pushing for a treaty that would limit the production of plastics with binding targets for each nation that signed the treaty.

Other countries, including fossil fuel-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United States, want a global agreement that focuses on recycling and voluntary commitmentsAccording to Climate Home News.

Lawyers, such as Muffet, generally prefer the first version.

Firstly, because, so far, recycling has not been proven to be effective on the scale required.

Second, environmental treaties that limit production have historically been more successful. An example is the Montreal Protocol, which limits the production of chemicals that damage the ozone layer.

The conclusion of the treaty could profoundly affect the way we eat, clean our homes, and organize our days. so stay tuned. We will follow this important story.

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