Resolute measures can save the planet from the harm of plastics

Context: The World Environment Day is celebrated every 5th June. The theme for this World Environment Day 2023 is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. Ban on Plastics:
  • This was also the theme in 2018 when India was the host country for the World Environment Day that saw the historic announcement by the Indian Prime Minister to make India single-use plastic free by 2022.
  • In many regions of the country, the enforcement of the ban on 21 single-use plastic items introduced last year has proven to be largely ineffective.
What are a few factual pieces of information pertaining to plastic pollution? 
  • Annually, the global production of plastic amounts to 400 million tonnes. Approximately 75% of the total plastic ever manufactured has transformed into waste.
  • Around the world, one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, and up to five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year.
  • Half of all plastic produced is designed for single-use purposes.
  • Studies suggest that there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean by 2050. 
What are the issues connected to plastic pollution?
  • Microplastics have been identified in the organs of humans, including the placentas of newborn infants.
  • Plastic-associated chemicals, such as methyl mercury, plasticisers, and flame retardants, can enter the body and are linked to health concerns. 
  • The greenhouse gas emission from production, use and disposal of conventional fossil fuel-based plastics is estimated to grow to 19% of the global carbon budget by 2040. 
  • Plastic pollution also results in clogging of drains contributing to urban floods, aesthetic deterioration, landfill leachates, and damage to coral reefs. 
What actions need to be taken?
  • It is crucial to reject the use of all single-use plastics and establish extended producer responsibility.
  • Promoting community-led clean-up initiatives. 
  • Governments, cities, towns, businesses, and the finance sector should establish regulations and guidelines to eradicate unnecessary plastics.
  • Shifting from a linear plastics economy to a circular model.
  • Embracing a lifestyle that minimizes resource consumption and emphasizes the principles of refuse and reduce, in addition to reuse, recycle, and repair. 
  • More than 100 countries have enacted laws pertaining to plastic bags, while many have implemented regulations concerning single-use plastics in general.
    • However, the success of these legislations depends on active citizen participation. 
Source: Livemint

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