UN: "Urgent action needed to tackle chemical pollution as global production is set to double by 2030"
Nairobi, 11 March 2019 – Countries will not meet the internationally agreed goal to minimize the adverse impacts of chemicals and waste by 2020, meaning that urgent action is required to reduce further damage to human health and economies, according to a UN report released today.
The second Global Chemicals Outlook, presented during the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, finds that the current chemical production capacity of 2.3 billion tonnes, valued at US$5 trillion annually, is projected to double by 2030.
Despite commitments to maximize the benefits and minimize the impacts of this industry, hazardous chemicals continue to be released to the environment in large quantities. They are ubiquitous in air, water and soil, food and humans. The world must take advantage of the many solutions that already exist and are highlighted in the report.
“Whether the growth in chemicals becomes a net positive or a net negative for humanity depends on how we manage the chemicals challenge,” said Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director of UN Environment. “What is clear is that we must do much more, together.”
The report finds that while international treaties and voluntary instruments have reduced the risks of some chemicals and wastes, progress has been uneven and implementation gaps remain. For example, as of 2018, more than 120 countries had not implemented the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.