World Environment, 6/5, & Ocean, 6/8, Days

by Bill Davis

Busy week this week with World Environment Day on Monday, 6/5, and World Ocean Day on Thursday, 6/8.  While World Ocean Day we are well familiar with as we are a supporter, World Environment Day is new for us even though it has been taking place since 1973.  This year though the link between the two is strong as the theme of this year's World Environment Day is beating plastic pollution and our ocean, along with lakes, rivers and streams, is / are feeling the brunt of too much plastic pollution / waste in them so highly relevant for World Ocean Day as well.

While it's positive news that we recognize the problem, although much later than we should have, the question that remains is do we have the will to really have a meaningful impact on plastic pollution / waste?  While there's been some good news on this front starting back in March of 2022 where 175 nations "endorsed a historic resolution at the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) in Nairobi to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024.", the plastics / petrochemical industry keeps doing what it does which is increasing the amount of plastic being produced as the industry is projected to produce 40%+ more plastic from 2022 to 2029 so a span of 8 years.  And plastic recycling still barely happens.

Last week in Paris the 2nd of 5 meetings to develop the plastics treaty by 2024 was held and in the end there was an agreement to develop an initial draft of said treaty by the Nov23 meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.  Yet the industry still resists any limits and even the US is going along with this by not participating in "a coalition of more than 50 countries is calling for an end to plastic pollution by 2040 and binding provisions to restrict or eliminate “unnecessary, avoidable, or problematic plastics” and polymers." so in essence we are siding with Saudi Arabia and China and shame on us.

Folks, we are being extremely shortsighted by not focusing more on reducing plastic pollution / waste, whether that means limiting certain types of plastic production or enabling the ability to recycle plastic.  While to a large degree being shortsighted is the human condition, we really do need to be more careful, clearly this is a challenge and much of that seems to be driven by the plastics / petrochemical industry's efforts.  If you have kids, my daughters are 25 and 22, and possibly grand kids, this should be of concern for you because it will negatively influence the quality of their life if we do not address this asap.  We can, and have to, do better.

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