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With the campaign slogan “Plastic is Forever, so it’s time to get clever about managing it!”, the BRS Conventions highlight the need to manage plastic waste in environmentally sound ways.
How long is forever? More than a lifetime? The life cycle of plastic is measured in hundreds of years. Plastic bottles, for example, take up to 450 years to decompose in landﬁlls. But even when it decomposes, plastic actually becomes more resilient in terms of dissemination, breaking down into microplastics and nanoplastics that get carried across the globe by air and sea, permeating our ecosystems and food supplies. We eat plastic, we breathe plastic; plastic particles have even been detected in placentas!
On the other hand, however a real and present danger plastic pollution may be, it doesn’t negate the fact that plastic has revolutionized the way we consume products and look after ourselves, by providing a cost-effective and durable material used for food containers, medical supplies and protective gear, among countless other applications. Two things can be true: plastic is very useful, and it is taking over the planet in the worst ways possible.
Plastic is Forever, so it’s time to get clever about managing it! The slogan of the latest campaign by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Conventions) signals that the way out of the plastic pollution crisis is through the environmentally sound management of plastic waste. This is the principle that guides the Plastic Waste Amendments, currently the sole legally binding international agreement on plastics waste.
Having entered into effect in January 2021, the Plastic Waste Amendments ensure that all 189 Parties of the Basel Convention trade plastics waste only between consenting countries that have the capacity to manage it in environmentally sound ways. Moreover, the Plastic Waste Amendments are a steppingstone towards an even more ambitious goal: the development of an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution.
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