Drastic solutions needed to fight plastic pollution — groups

July 21, 2021 Joel dela Torre 173 views

ENVIRONMENTAL health groups called for drastic action to curb plastic pollution as it echoed the urgency to limit the manufacture of this item for essential uses only.

The EcoWaste Coalition, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) and Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) echoed the need for the limitation of plastic manufacture to eliminate toxic chemicals in the production and halt the swelling problem of plastic waste in the environment, including the world’s oceans.

Calling for drastic action to combat plastic pollution came after a new report came out to which it provided a detailed account of how current investments in recycling schemes will have very little impact on a growing worldwide plastic pollution and at the same time increase exposure to toxic chemicals in the communities where they are located.

Titled “Plastic Waste Management Hazards: Waste-to-Energy, Chemical Recycling and Plastic Fuels,” the report by Japan-based International Pellet Watch (IPW) and Sweden-based International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), which counts on the EcoWaste Coalition, IDIS and MEF among its members, has concluded that chemical recycling, plastic-to-fuel, and incineration to manage plastic waste is generating high volumes of highly hazardous waste and toxic emissions.

According to EcoWaste Coalition quoting Lee Bell, the report’s co-author, the only solution to the plastic waste piling up in the communities and oceans is to limit plastic production to essential uses and eliminate the use of toxic chemicals in plastics.

Another co-author and leading international scientist on hazardous chemicals and plastics, Professor Shige Takada said: “We are finding plastic’s toxic chemicals across the world’s oceans, coastlines and in the isolated polar regions. Fish and seabirds swallow plastic waste contaminated by these toxic UV stabilisers, and it builds up in the food chain. It is very concerning and must be prohibited internationally. Our studies show that plastic waste is not inert, it transports the toxic additives for thousands of miles impacting global ecosystems.”

According to the report, while the plastic pollution problem is bad now, it is set to intensify in the years ahead.

Plastics production it added, is expected to grow exponentially (from 335 million tons produced in 2016 to 1,800 million tons by 2050) as the petrochemical industry adapts to a carbon-constrained environment by shifting from fuels to the production of chemicals and plastics.

“We hope our own government will pay attention to the report’s findings and recommendations as we seek comprehensive, holistic and just decisions and measures to effectively curb plastic waste and pollution locally and globally,” the EcoWaste Coalition, IDIS and MEF said.