Plastics persist in the environment for centuries, representing an ever-growing legacy of pollution with enduring and profound intergenerational impacts on humans, ecosystems, flora and fauna.
While the problems of plastics in our oceans have gained particular attention in recent years, the negative externalities extend beyond just the marine environment; plastics also affect freshwater, climate change, soils and public health with widespread environmental, economic and social implications.
Plastic production is increasing at alarming rates, set to quadruple by 2050. Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic leak into our oceans each year, and 51 trillion plastic particles are already present in the marine environment. Plastic is everywhere. Toxic chemicals from plastic have also now made their way into the human food chain, and are likely to increase the risk of cancer, obesity, and heart disease, among others.
Plastic pollution does not discriminate. Once in the environment, it travels along rivers, through groundwater bodies, along ocean currents and with the wind, polluting the furthest corners of the world. As this pollution is global in nature, so must be the solution. The only way to fundamentally solve it is through action at the global level to phase down production and control an industry that is very poorly regulated.
In recognition of this fact, and as part of United Nations processes, EIA is advocating for a global agreement on plastic pollution. To support this agreement, we also work across multiple environmental fora to bring focus and regulation to issues of serious environmental concern, including Abandoned, Lost or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG), and the devastating international trade in plastic waste.
In this EIA podcast our Senior Lawyer, Tim Grabiel, takes us on a journey from fossil fuels to waste disposal, explaining why we urgently need to change our approach to plastics.
(Left to right)
Paul Newman – Press and Communications Officer,
Tim Grabiel – Senior Lawyer