stop plastic pollution is the goal. A summit of 175 countries and 1,500 scientists began this Monday, at the Unesco headquarters in Paris, to achieve a future world treaty. But the United States, China and Saudi Arabia, oil producers, They oppose this globality.
For five days everyone will look for formulas to “end plastic pollution”, when it has been found until on the peaks of the Pyrenees and the Himalayas. Every year more than 350 million tons of plastic waste are generated worldwide. Plastic pollution affects the entire planet and particularly the oceans.
Under the United Nations presidency, the goal is to achieve “the most important multilateral environmental agreement since the climate agreement in Paris,” said the executive director of the United Nations environment program, Inger Anderson.
Paris receives the delegates, after at the end of November 1922, in Punta del Este, a Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee.
The Paris summit will be vital to obtain a text, which will need three other sessions to be perfected, until the end of 2024.
“In an international negotiation, it is not in the second session, which has 5 rounds, that is decisive. It is generally the last one, in which countries that have more distant positions are allowed to reach ”, explained the minister of the French ecological transition, Christophe Bechu.
“A Time Bomb”
President Emmanuel Macron opened the summit but with a recorded message. this monday was Pentecost holiday in France.
Macron called on Monday to “put an end to a globalized and unsustainable model” of plastic production and consumption so that negotiations on a future global treaty against this great pollution are resumed in Paris.
“If we do nothing, plastic waste generation will triple again by 2060. Plastic pollution is therefore time bomb, at the same time as a scourge already present,” declared the French president, in a video message to representatives of 175 nations, meeting at UNESCO headquarters until Friday.
According to the Head of State, “we must definitively put an end to a globalized and unsustainable model, which consists of produce plastic in China or in OECD countriesto then export it in the form of waste to other developing countries, which however are less equipped with waste treatment systems.”
Two coalitions will face each other at the summit: the United States, China and Saudi Arabia, which produce oil, plastic base, and another 50 countries, which includes the EU, France, Germany, Rwanda and Norway, in favor of restrictive measures and a limitation of the production of plastic materials. At least 600 NGOs from around the world will watch.
The first victory of the anti-plastics coalition was get the support of Jan, which is the second largest producer of plastic waste. Tokyo wants to end plastic packaging by 2040.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colona warned: “Plastic is everywhere. In our daily lives, in our refrigerators but also in our garbage cans, in the oceans and in our lungs”.
You have to set a limit because the plastic will advance. Once it’s in nature, breaks down into tiny microparticles, which are carried by the wind and will end up distributed everywhere. Including mountain peaks.
If it is not stopped by 2060, it could exceed one billion tons of plastic per year, according to the OECD. Global targets are being sought to curb this probable production, with national commitments to meet, which include tax incentives.
Reduce, not recycle
Recycling is also under discussion, especially if it is chemical.
“It is an extremely expensive procedure, which pollutes and consumes energy,” explained Diane Beaumenay Joannet, responsible for maritime pollution at the Surrider Foundation Europe association. The factories that will be installed for this will always need plastic to be profitable.
Therefore they want to prioritize the treatment of plastic waste at its source and its reuse.
The discussion then will not be recycling but plastic waste reduction.
Another topic to be discussed will be the responsibility for do not export this material to third world countrieswith less developed technologies to treat them and less sanitary legislation.
Pollution is gigantic and plastic is omnipresent in our lives. The 8,300 million tons of plastics produced since 1950 could “cover all of France with 50 centimeters of polymers or cover the entire Earth’s surface with a 2-millimeter layer,” said Jeroen Sonke, CNRS research director and first author of a global balance of plastics.
“We abuse plastic because it is very che. But it has consequences for the environment, the oceans, the flora and fauna,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.
In addition to the proximately 8 to 9 million tons of plastics that are dumped into the sea each year, most plastics are stored on land and in marine sediments, a small part is recycled (around 8%), another is incinerated (10%) and is even emitted into the atmosphere (30,000 tons per year).
These polymers are everywhere: plastic debris or microparticles have been found in the Mariana Trench10,000 meters deep in the Pacific Ocean, and up to the top of Pic du Midi in France.
a meteorological fact
We can find “on the ground, up to 400 kg of plastic per hectare, with spreading,” said Pascale Fabre, CNRS research director.
The French have incorporated a new index into their meteorology: the “plastic weather”.
Today 40 kilos of plastic pollution are expected in Paris. An initiative of the Australian Minderoo Foundation, which allows it to be measured.