Monday, July 22, 2024

New Zero Percent Plastic Waste Target Needed


The world needs a new Zero percent plastic waste target by 2040, according to the Director of the Global Plastics Policy Centre at the University of Portsmouth, Professor Steve Fletcher.

In a paper published in Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, the authors argue that while nearly 200 countries are committed to reducing plastic pollution, some political and social obstacles remain. The paper emphasizes the importance of reaching an international treaty with clearly defined goals, objectives, and measuring metrics. Only then will we be able to end the scourge of plastic pollution!

According to Professor Fletcher:

“The treaty’s target must be ambitious and meaningful, we are calling for the UN to aim for a minimum goal of 0% new plastic pollution by 2040. To achieve this, policymakers, businesses, researchers and wider society must go beyond the existing best available technology and practice and be radical in their thinking to develop a coordinated global strategy to tackle plastic pollution….The Global Plastic Treaty needs a target that is clearly defined…At present, there is ambiguity about what ‘ending plastic pollution’ actually means. For the treaty to work it’s vital for there to be a single target and an agreed strategy.”

While Antaya March, the paper’s lead author from the Global Plastics Policy Centre, added:

“Plastic is extremely useful, but mismanagement has led to a global pollution crisis that is exacerbating climate change. A complete transformation to a circular plastics economy is needed to radically reduce or eliminate plastic pollution while supporting necessary use… At best, country-specific policies, such as bans on specific plastic products, do not have the reach to meaningfully affect global drivers of plastic pollution. At worst, they create international legal and policy inconsistencies that push plastic waste to places with the least capacity to deal with it safely. It is estimated that current commitments to tackle plastic pollution will only decrease plastic entering the environment by approximately 7% by 2040 compared to business as usual. This is why we need an ambitious target that all nations can work towards.”

And the final study writer Dr. Keiron Roberts added:

“It is a huge achievement that the development of a global legally binding treaty by the UN to end plastic pollution is underway. But to be effective, the global treaty requires new levels of transparency, disclosure and cooperation to support evidence-based policymaking that avoids the fragmented and reactionary policies of the past. A system change needs to arise that fundamentally alters the way we behave and interact with plastic.”

You can find the original research here.

Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life! Sam is a Staff Writer for