Today’s Solutions: April 18, 2024

The Optimist Daily very much likes writing about plastic cleanup in the oceans. So, we were ecstatic when we learned about the beginnings of a treaty on par with the Paris Climate Accords to clean up plastics.

The Paris Climate Accords made history as an international effort of 192 countries to work in concert to limit global warming, by peaking our global emissions as soon as possible and reaching carbon neutrality. Much like what The Paris Climate Accords did for the earth, the world now aims to reach a similar agreement for the sea. 

More than 200 nations have agreed to negotiations on what would be an international treaty to address the issue of plastics littering our seas. This could mean rules regulating the production, use, and cleanup and disposal of plastics worldwide. 

UN member states agreed at the UN Environment Assembly Nairobi, Kenya to draw up the framework of this agreement. Members involved in drafting this agreement have until 2024 to have a treaty ready to be signed. Many are facing pressure from the people of their own countries, some of who struggle with plastic pollution more than others. Environmentalist groups are also demanding incentives to adhere to binding and clear global standards of plastic disposal and penalties for harmful waste. 

It is a widely held concern that plastic pollution is harming habitats, endangering wildlife, and damaging the food supply with more than five trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. Tackling this issue has been called one of the most ambitious environmental actions since the 1989 Montreal Protocol, which phased out substances that depleted our ozone layers. 

We can now finally begin to substantially fix so much of the damage done to our planet by plastic waste. As Lord Zac Goldsmith, UK government minister for the international environment, said, “Although there is much to be done now to turn it into an ambitious and far-reaching treaty, we can now begin to close this ugly chapter [on our history].”

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