Plastic Planet: A Sustainable Future?

Oral intervention submitted by the Next Century Foundation at the 37th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Item 3 Clustered ID on 2nd March 2018, the special report on the environment:

Mr President. The environment is now a human security concern.

The Next Century Foundation commends the commitment of the UN to combatting environmental degradation. However while good ecological practices are becoming more mainstream, the dangers posed by the increasing scale of global plastic pollution are grave. Plastic pollution is even prevalent at the South Pole.

According to the UN’s own figures, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050 unless people stop using single-use plastic items. Plastic waste entering the world’s seas and oceans is not only harmful to wildlife; it is also moving up the food chain and threatening human sustenance. Oceans and seas are crucial resources for human existence and their maintenance makes the Earth habitable.

Improper care of these resources could make humankind’s future unsustainable. Despite the vast number of pledges and promises made by nations to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the oceans, a distinct lack of timetables and a lack of legally binding agreements has hampered any resolute and meaningful action.

We urge nations to consider front-line solutions; to adopt a legal commitment to the environment; to move towards a plastic-free world and perhaps most crucially to establish a realistic time frame for when this will be achieved.

We have all played a part in creating this problem, we must, therefore, work together to find the solutions. Thank-you.