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Turning off the Tap

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia

Image by: UNEP


A new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report, called ‘Turning off the Tap: How the World Can End Plastic Pollution and Create a Circular Economy,’ argues that plastic pollution could be reduced by 80% by 2040 if countries and companies adopt concrete practices, market shifts, and policies that can inform government thinking and business action.

It makes interesting reading as it highlights the complexities of shifting away from plastic which is so integrated into modern ways of behaving and producing and is of course linked into the powerful oil lobby. The report emphasizes the need to reuse, recycle, and reorient and diversify and to eliminate unnecessary plastic uses, as well as deal with plastics already in the environment that cannot be eliminated, reused, recycled, or replaced.

Alongside this are the various social impacts for example in those places where plastic waste has become part of the informal economy. It should also be read alongside other recent reports which have highlighted the damage that recycling plastic does and perhaps we need to move even further away from recycling in this particular material.

By the way, the pic above is of an art Installation © Von Wong Productions, #TurnOffThePlasticTap. The Giant Plastic Tap was an art installation by artist Benjamin Von Wong at the UN Headquarters in Nairobi. It was on display during the United Nations Environment Assembly in 2022, when delegates agreed to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee with the mandate to forge an international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution.

Dulwich College Singapore

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