A new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report has shown that plastic pollution could be slashed by 80 percent by 2040 if countries and companies use existing technologies to make significant policy shifts and market adjustments.
UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen says the way people produce, use and dispose of plastics is polluting ecosystems, creating risks for human health, and destabilizing the climate.
The report, Turning off the Tap: How the world can end plastic pollution and create a circular economy, outlines the magnitude and nature of the changes required to end plastic pollution and create a sustainable circular economy that is friendly to humans and the environment.
It also proposes a system change achieved by accelerating three key shifts – reuse, recycle, and reorient and diversify – and actions to deal with the legacy of plastic pollution.
However, the report warns that a five-year delay may lead to an increase of 80 million metric tons of plastic pollution by 2040.