If you search for plastic pollution news articles you will find that it is at least weekly if not daily that there is something plastic related to talk about. Most recently as an example, published by the BBC on the popularity of artificial grass. There is so much information out there with where we are going wrong, what we can be doing to help and what is and isn’t working.
Writing a single blog on this topic is not the easiest, especially with where to start. We all know that plastic pollution is an issue. Campaigns, research and projects have been ongoing for years highlighting the problems, what needs to be done and what can be done but is it just getting worse rather than better?
Plastic pollution is literally everywhere. It has been found deep in ocean trenches, uninhabited islands, Antarctica and even inside animals. The scale of plastic pollution is summarised in the UN’s Pollution to Solution report.
You don’t need to go far from your front door to see wildlife impacted by our rubbish and sadly there is so much of it out there. Birds and Debris is a recent four year project where people have been asked to submit photos of birds who are living in rubbish. Almost a quarter of these photos include personal protective equipment or PPE following the pandemic.
Seeing images of things like this is becoming all too common and its horrible to think of the part we play in it. In our own ways we all try to do our bit, but it seems to have got to a point where the small things are just not really making a difference. Not that it means we should stop trying of course, we can still all do our part.
Action from governments and industry leaders across the world is needed to start making the changes at the very top, targeting the reduction in the production of plastic and how we use it, rather than just managing the waste at the end of the cycle.
The UN and its members are currently drafting a global plastic pollution treaty with a target of 2024 to have an agreement in place. Obviously, this is a massive undertaking and these sorts of agreements take time, money and commitment, but that does mean that 2024 is only when we would see the start of any action. Somehow it just doesn’t seem soon enough when you think how much more plastic will be produced in the meantime and the consequences of that.
Of course, there is not a simple answer and it is going to take time before we see any results but just how long is it before it is too late?