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The Solution to Single-Use Plastics Is Simple: Ban Them

The UN Environment Assembly is putting together a "political declaration on pollution," but we need action more than words at this point.

A high-level meeting is taking place this week in Nairobi among heads of state and environment ministers at the UN Environment Assembly. The topic of discussion is plastic waste, a problem that is plaguing every nation on Earth, especially those with coastlines where plastic tends to accumulate, thanks to winds and tides.

The problem has become so big that it's impossible to ignore any longer. With the equivalent of one truckload of plastic trash being dumped in the world's oceans every minute, and consumption expected to rise significantly over the next few years, plastic waste management is an urgent issue.

The Financial Times reports:

"Environmental officials hope ministers will agree to start developing measures to police marine litter management. They also want nations and regions to set individual plastic waste reduction targets for the first time."

From a description of the meeting:

"Outcomes are expected to include: a political declaration on pollution, linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); resolutions and decisions adopted by Member States to address specific dimensions of pollution; voluntary commitments by governments, private sector entities and civil society organizations to clean up the planet; and the Clean Planet Pledge, a collection of individual commitments to take personal action to end pollution in all its forms."

When I read this, I couldn't help rolling my eyes. A political declaration, paired with "voluntary commitments by governments" and "individual commitments to take personal action"? Give me a break. As if that is going to stem the flow of plastic into the world's oceans!

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