The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) held its fifth meeting in March 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose: end the global scourge of plastic pollution. The UNEA empowered an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to complete a legally binding agreement by the end of 2024. The INC is targeting some big numbers.
INC targeting big numbers
The amount of global plastic pollution soared from 2 million tons in 1950 to 348 million tons by 2017.
The global plastic industry is valued at $522.6 billion.
Plastic pollution is expected to double by 2040.
Plastic-associated emissions allowed by the Paris Agreement would account for 15% of allowed emissions, under the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C (34.7°F).
More than 800 marine and coastal species are impacted by plastic pollution through ingestion, entanglement and other dangers.
About 11 million tons of plastic end up each year in the ocean. This amount may triple by 2040, adding 23 million to 37 million metric tons of marine waste per year, or about 50kg (110 pounds) of plastic per meter of coastline.
Plastic accounts for 85% of marine litter.
The three-day UNEA-5.2 meeting in Nairobi was attended by over 3,400 people, including 1,500 online participants, from 175 UN Member States.
Prior to the meeting, 34 out of 54 countries had already put in place legislation to control single-use plastics bags.