A world severely blighted by plastic pollution is on track to see the use of plastics nearly triple in less than four decades. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), annual production of fossil-fuel-based plastics are set to top 1.2 billion tonnes by 2060 and waste to exceed one billion tonnes,
Plastic is polluting every corner of the planet. The scale of plastic pollution has become alarming with millions of tonnes of plastic waste existing almost everywhere posing serious threats to human and animal health and destroying nature as well.
We do not know exactly how long plastic products take to degrade, but we know that once they are in our soil, rivers and oceans, it is impossible to clean up. The plastic we see washing up on shores and floating on the water’s surface is only the tip of the iceberg.
There is increasing international alarm over volume and omnipresence of plastics pollution, and its impact. It is apprehended that even with aggressive action to cut demand and improve efficiencies, plastic production would almost double in less than 40 years.
It is time to determine
concrete targets and devise roadmaps for reducing
avoidable plastic use
Plastic wastes not only pollute our terrestrial biodiversity but according to UN, some 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow annually into oceans polluting and destroying marine biodiversity. Infiltrating the most remote and otherwise pristine regions of the planet, microplastics have been discovered inside fish in the deepest recesses of the ocean and locked inside Arctic ice.
It is disconcerting to learn that around 17,000 tonnes of plastic is produced in Bangladesh every day and only half of it is recycled, according to the Department of Environment. Considering the fact that plastic use is unavoidable, recycling of plastic waste has become more than a necessity. We cannot reduce its use due to its flexibility but we can surely reuse it to minimise its impact on environment.
It is time to determine concrete targets and devise roadmaps for reducing avoidable plastic use. The fight against plastic pollution is twofold: First we must contain it, and then we must eradicate it. In order to reduce plastic pollution, we all have an essential role to play, from making small lifestyle changes -- such as shopping with reusable bags -- to raising our voices for more progressive and sustainable policies.
Our voices can become an impetus behind public policy decisions. We need to conduct awareness campaigns to convince consumers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics and encourage them to move towards healthier and more sustainable ways of living that will benefit their families and their communities.
Last but not least, necessary steps should be taken to scale up plastic waste collection and reinforce recycling capacity through investment.