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· Anastasia Telesetsky, Professor of International Environmental Law at the University of Idaho, believes that single-use plastics are clogging landfills and killing wildlife. History has shown that with enough support and sustainable alternatives a global treaty banning single-use plastics may be a viable solution.
· What lessons have we learned from the history of prior treaties about curbing pollution? How can donors contribute to efforts reducing the harmful effects of single-use plastics?
Single-use plastics are a blessing and a curse. They have fueled a revolution in commercial and consumer convenience and improved hygiene standards, but also have saturated the world’s coastlines and clogged landfills. By one estimate 79 percent of all plastic ever produced is now in a dump, a landfill or the environment, and only 9 percent has been recycled.
This growing legacy poses real risks. Plastic packaging is clogging city sewer systems, leading to flooding. Abandoned plastic goods create breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and can leach toxic additives such as styrene and benzene as they decompose. Single-use plastics are killing birds and harming marine life.
I study international environmental law with a focus on marine ecosystems. In my view, land-based pollution from single-use plastics is a slow-onset disaster that demands a global response.
Read the full article about single-use plastics by Anastasia Telesetsky, Professor of International Environmental Law, University of Idaho at The Conversation.