On March 2, 2022, The United Nations approved a landmark agreement to create the world’s first ever global plastic pollution treaty, describing it as “the most significant environmental deal since the 2015 Paris climate accord”, which would affect oil and chemicals companies that produce raw plastic, as well as consumer goods giants and the economies of major plastic-producing countries, including the United States, China, India, Saudi Arabia and Japan.
Every year, millions of tons of plastic enter the oceans, of which the vast majority spills out from the water from land. In fact, just 10 rivers worldwide, eight of them originating in Asia, are responsible for the bulk of river-borne plastic: Yangtze river in China is the biggest source, contributing 1.5 million metric tonnes each year. Marine aquaculture and fishing are the major contributors to marine pollution, but the main factor is the prevalence of single-use plastics.
The WWF report found that the fossil-fuel derived substance has reached every part of the ocean and could be found in some of the wildest and most remote locations on our planet, including Antarctica, and the deepest canyons of the Mariana trench.
Researchers and innovators are developing solutions to stop plastic getting into the sea which go beyond waste management and consider the whole lifecycle of plastic products; from design to infrastructure, and household use. Innovative technologies and entrepreneurship could be smart solutions for tackling ocean pollution at the national and global level.
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