22 April 2019 – Perhaps a low point of the World Earth Day 2018 meeting negotiations in Kenya happened when efforts to pass a legally binding legislation to put an end to plastic pollution the world over got stalled by the US . Efforts to get the same passed at the level of the G7 meeting also ended in a deadlock . What then is to be done moving forward?
It is needless to say that other efforts to address the situation other than evolving a global legally binding legislation may though record significant success across some geographical divides of the world yet remain incomplete when compared to the results a global legally binding legislation will offer. Yet, such noble efforts at national and international levels significantly fill some space in the aching void of the gap at hand, as relevant recent development reports show . Nonetheless, the refusal of the US and its Allies to do the needful still leaves much undone in the nations of the US and its allies as well as in especially nations of the Global South with weak regulatory legislation and enforcement apparatus where several MNCs owned by the US and its allied nations operate.
Plastic pollution holds far reaching harmful implications for the planet. From fishes in the ocean to animals and humans on earth, the effects of plastic pollution pose unhealthy conditions to the planet’s inhabitants as well. According to Danes Hayes, founder of Earth Day, ‘plastic and microplastic pollution ranges in size from the North Pacific Gyre to nanoplastic fibers small enough to penetrate individual cells. We are finding microplastics in treated drinking water, in soft drinks, in beer, etc.’ The nutritional and environmental health consequences of plastic pollution are dire for the planet and all its inhabitants if the needful is not done to stem this rising tide .
By virtue of their towering intellectual capacity, man appears to have been entrusted with the role of a guardian to preserve nature and all its inhabitants for a healthy, balanced and sustainable eco-system. But will only a few – constituting members of the political class of the US and its ally nations – hold the far larger fraction of humanity to ransom by constituting a roadblock? Reports indicate that all humanity want their environmental rights to a world void of plastic pollution by 2030 be a global legally binding duty for the governed, their governments and their governors alike. History has shown that the best form of cure is prevention not ‘curative humanitarian aid’
‘There is not much the average person can do about the Pacific Garbage Patch or to ban endocrine disrupting plasticisers except scream at politicians to take the issues seriously….Until ending ‘one-way’ plastics becomes a political priority around the world, [their manufacture] will continue unabated.’ Denis Hayes aptly notes. If the US’ claim to be a personification of democratic rule is true, then heeding the cry of all humanity will be a true test of environmental democracy upheld by its political class. Its leadership in this direction may well inspire its allies to heed the voice of all humanity and rationality.
Kudos to the evolution of legally binding legislations and/or policies at national and international levels by governments, regional blocs, and businesses. Let the good work continue! But all hands must be on deck to get the US and its allies to see why passing a global legally binding pact is a win-win for all humanity across all social classes; and how a stitch in time saves nine.
Governments, businesses, civil society, non-state actors, and individuals in general must all play their part to evolve global legally binding regulation to eliminate single-use plastics and for sustainable plastic waste disposal management and recycling. Happy World Earth Day 2019!
 The World Agrees There’s A Plastic Waste Crisis – Can It Agree On A Solution? https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/nature/the-world-agrees-theres-a-plastic-waste-crisiscan-it-agree-on-a-solution.aspx
 US, Japan Reject G-7 Ocean Plastics Charter https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/06/us-japan-decline-endorse-g-7-ocean-plastics-charter.html
 A running list of action on plastic pollution https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/07/ocean-plastic-pollution-solutions/
 Earth Day Founder Calls for End to Plastic Pollution https://www.ecowatch.com/earth-day-2018-denis-hayes-2561473004.html
 UN Environment releases 2018 Annual Report https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/un-environment-releases-2018-annual-report
 On Earth Day, Government of Canada targets plastic waste and marine litter, with launch of online consultation https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2018/04/on-earth-day-government-of-canada-targets-plastic-waste-and-marine-litter-with-launch-of-online-consultation.html
Olubankole Daniel Olulana
WorldWatch is a periodic column of Humanity Voice Watch dedicated to adopting sound data-based analytical commentary on policy issues and challenges central to the sustainable development of all humanity, their societies and planet as a tool to achieving social re-engineering in a direction of social justice, peace and sustainable development.
Olubankole Daniel Olulana is a governance, management and media professional passionate about conducting research, advocacy and field initiatives on policy issues and challenges issues that revolve around inclusive and good governance and sustainable development in the interest of all humanity, their societies and their planet. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org