Plastics Versus Earth

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The United Nations adopted a resolution this week to create the first treaty to tackle global plastic pollution, a move analysts and officials hailed as the most important multilateral climate deal since the landmark 2015 Paris accord, CNBC reported.

World leaders from nearly 200 countries said during the UN environment assembly in Kenya that they hope to create a legally-binding treaty by the end of 2024.

The tentative agreement will address the full lifecycles of plastics – including production, design and disposal – and the growing problem they pose to the world’s oceans, rivers and landscapes.

Officials described the move as “a triumph by planet earth over single-use plastics,” but cautioned that the success of any agreement would depend on the final terms of the deal.

The demand for a legally-binding pact comes as public awareness of plastic waste is growing.

The UN agency has warned that plastic pollution has increased to more than 380 million tons in 2017 – a drastic rise from 2.2 million tons in 1950. It added that plastic pollution has become a global industry worth more than $522 billion and is expected to double in capacity in the next two decades.

Single-use plastics – which include, bottles, bags and food packaging – are the most commonly discarded types of plastic and are made almost exclusively from fossil fuels.

These types of plastics often end their short lifecycle in the oceans, dumped in landfills or burned.

Last year, a study found that just 20 companies were the source of 55 percent of the world’s single-use plastic waste.

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