This report from the Environmental Investigation Agency and OceanCare highlights major concerns around quick-fix technological solutions to cleaning up plastics in our oceans, ranging from their impact on the environment to the distraction from genuine policy solutions. The report provides recommendations to policymakers negotiating the new global plastics treaty for how to ensure that clean-up are conducted in a way that puts people and planet first. First and foremost the report highlights that we cannot do the clean-up without stopping the source.
The growing momentum to address plastic pollution through global governance has seen the emergence of new international regulations on the management of plastic waste under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (“Basel Convention” or “the Convention”).
In March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) adopted resolution 5/14 titled “End Plastic Pollution: Towards an International Legally Binding Instrument.” The resolution convenes an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to develop a new global agreement combatting plastic pollution, otherwise referred to as the global plastics treaty (GPT).
Plastics are ubiquitous in today’s world. The widespread use of plastics means plastic pollution comes from various sectors and industries, all of which use the material for bespoke applications with varying levels of risk when it comes to emissions into the environment and all of which require tailored interventions to mitigate these risks.
Plastics are ubiquitous in wild-capture fisheries and aquaculture, polluting land and sea, causing navigational hazards, blighting the coastal landscape and impacting communities and tourism when it washes ashore while often continuing to entangle and kill marine species as well as contaminating seafood for human consumption.