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Tell Leaders We Need a Strong Global Treaty to Tackle the Plastics Crisis

64,441 signed. Let’s get to 75K.

The plastics crisis is an environmental justice and climate change catastrophe—for our physical health and the world we live in. Only swift, meaningful action will save us now. 

Each year, the world produces 300 million tons of plastic waste—nearly the weight of the entire human population—with devastating effects for human and climate health. Social injustice is a part of the narrative, too: the people and communities most affected by plastic production and pollution are disproportionately the most vulnerable and least culpable. 

Fueled by the powerful oil and gas industry—which has committed hundreds of billions of dollars to expanding plastic production—consumers have been sold on a myth that recycling is a comprehensive solution. In truth, every minute, a garbage truck’s worth of plastic clogs up and pollutes the ocean, and as many as 51 trillion pieces of plastic choke every square mile of those precious waters. Still, less than 10 percent of plastics produced are actually recycled. Without action, by 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

The human consequences are equally severe. Plastic production and pollution releases vast arrays of toxic substances, increasing the risk of cancer and other devastating health issues. In production hotspots like Cancer Alley in Louisiana, which is home to over 150 petrochemical and plastic production plants, the risk of cancer from air pollution is 95 percent higher than for the rest of the country. Waste matters too, as plastic pollution many of us think floats out as ocean rubbish also ends up in the food we eat and the air we breathe. A recent study found we consume as much as five grams of plastic—an entire credit card’s worth—every week.

Plastic products, including fishing nets and line, often kill marine species · Shane Gross
The plastics crisis is a truly global issue · Shawn Heinrichs
Plastics manufacturing impacts the most vulnerable and least culpable people and communities · Goldman Environmental Prize
Without action, by 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish · Cristina Mittermeier

The plastics crisis is a truly global issue, and its causes and consequences must be comprehensively addressed across the entire life cycle—from plastic creation to end pollution. The private sector has been slow and unwilling to take meaningful action to address the crisis, and so national governments must work together to enact meaningful, global regulations and commitments to address this catastrophe.

Delegations have committed to creating a legally binding Treaty that covers the entire life cycle of plastic and centers on frontline communities, but we must speak up to ensure that that they adhere to this framework and create policies that address the global plastics crisis with the urgency it demands. 

Call on world leaders to adopt a strong Global Plastics Treaty. We’ll keep you up-to-date as negotiations progress.

Latest update: On March 2nd, 2022, Delegations at the U.N. Environment Assembly in Nairobi committed to a treaty framework that is legally binding, covers the entire life cycle of plastic, and centers on the needs of frontline communitiesa huge step in the right direction toward the establishment of a strong Global Plastics Treaty.

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