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

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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 addressed comprehensively and consistently. The private sector has been slow and unwilling to take meaningful action to address the crisis, and so we need national governments to work together to enact meaningful, global regulations and commitments to address this catastrophe.

Delegations are discussing a new global treaty on plastics ahead of the United Nations Environment Assembly meeting in February 2022. We need to speak up now to ensure global leaders commit to this framework and address the global plastics crisis with the urgency it demands.

Call on world leaders to adopt a global treaty to address the plastics crisis.

Update: On November 18th, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the U.S. would support the development of a global plastics treaty. During the Trump Administration, the U.S. had been opposed to the treaty and played a key role in delaying action for two years.

12,707 signed. Let’s get to 20K.
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