The EU’s top environmental official stated that a gradual reduction in fossil fuel-based plastics is essential to combat climate change. This was before a United Nations meeting that will launch talks on a first treaty to combat plastic pollution.
Plastics production is now a major growth area for oil industry countries as they seek to shift away polluting energy resources. But plastic waste is building up in the oceans of the world’s cities and urban waterways, and choking its wildlife. A study of ice cores revealed nanoplastics for the first-time in both the polar regions.
“The biggest issue is, at the bottom of the day oil use forplastic production,” Virginijus Sinkevicius EU Environment Commissioner during preparations to the U.N. On February 28, the Environment Assembly summit will begin in Nairobi. He told Reuters that if we want to achieve our decarbonisation goals by 2050, we must reduce steadily the use fossil fuels.
Sinkevicius stated that limiting virgin plastic production was “inevitably an essential part” of a global treaty. However, it was not clear what binding or voluntary requirements would have to be agreed. He stated that he believes more in binding measures but that we will have to wait to hear from international partners.
According to the International Energy Agency (IAEA), petrochemicals, the fossil fuel-based building blocks of products including plastics or fertilisers, will account for more that a third global oil demand growth by 2030. PepsiCo and Coca Cola are two of the major consumer brands. However, the UN pact must include a reduction in plastic production. This could be met with resistance from major oil and chemical producers and countries like the United States.
The UN deal could also include improving waste collection and recycling or developing plastics that can be reused more easily – although Sinkevicius stated that recycling alone would not stop the plastic pollution crisis. Sinkevicius stated that it was impossible to recycle the increased waste pile-up if there is no other way.
The EU, which includes 27 countries, has banned single-use plastic items like straws and cutlery until 2021. France went even further this year and banned plastic packaging for almost all fruits, vegetables, and other food items.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff. It is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.