With a rapid increase in the population and increased human intervention into the ecological domain, nature’s bounty seems to lose its very essence and head towards deterioration. Environmental pollution has been a major concern that Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) and its Member States are working towards since the very foundation of the former. The problem has spread its legs like an epidemic seeding threat for the present as well as future generations. Plastic pollution is one such threat that needs an urgent eye. While plastic has many valuable uses and human species has to the date become addicted to it, one cannot deny the environmental consequences it lays down.
Several worrying trends can openly be witnessed in the use of plastics. Since 1950, the production of plastic has been elevated and a shift from the production of durable plastic towards plastics that are meant to be thrown away after one use is clearly visible. But one must be apprehended with the fact that the same properties that make plastic so useful – their durability and resistance to degradation – also lay down problems for nature to break them down completely. Plastic waste has become so pervasive in the natural environment today that scientists have suggested it could succour as a geological indicator of the Anthropocene era.
The matter along with its serious threats to mankind and most importantly to nature has attracted the worldwide attention. But gaining attention merely is not enough, regulation is strictly needed.
NAM has always initiated efforts and has asked its Member States and other nations across the globe to be the symbol of change and uproot the major concern that causes loss to lives and Mother Nature before it grows wild. Several global initiatives have gained momentum to curb the problem and reduce or eliminate the consumption of single-use plastic that has severe environmental consequences. To maintain the growing momentum around the plastic agenda and to make series of efforts a successful track, United Nations along with other Member States across the world has initiated efforts to learn means from one another and has committed to fighting plastic pollution together with concerted efforts of all.
UN Environment has come in the forefront in putting plastics pollution at the top of the list of the global agenda and positioning it at the centre of the world’s attention with making it a theme for World Environment Day 2018. The organisation has established a Global Plastic Platform to provide support to the countries and cities in formulating policies for the reduction of the plastic pollution. Providing policy support is not the only agenda, the platform aims to explore ways to bring certain changes in the design, production, consumption and disposal of the element around the world lined up with a shift to a more circular economy. The UN Environment also reports that identifying opportunities in the efforts is the need of the hour then only the problem could be brought to an end. The action plan that UN has laid down, with the efforts of Member States is calling up key actors and institutions and citizens around the world to incorporate a new level of responsiveness about the serious issue along with an ideal shift.
With the initiation and active support of the Non-Aligned Movement and the UN Environment, several countries across the world have made pioneering commitments to beat the plastic pollution. Notably, a strong move to reduce plastic waste by banning, taxing or otherwise limiting its use all around the world has been witnessed. On World Environment Day 2018, India, the host of the event, proclaimed to get rid of the plastic pollution and ban all single-use plastics by 2022. While the plastic bags bans have been promulgated in Chile, Botswana and Peru, Nigeria sets to establish recycling plants across the country. Jamaica has introduced a ban on single use plastic bags, plastic straws and Styrofoam in a bid to reduce the impact plastic is having on the environment.
Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment sets another example by calling on institutions and individuals nationwide the past month to abstain from single-use plastic, marking Thai Environment Day. Also, the Ministry has initiated towards the agenda and signed a MoU with major operators to refrain its use. With the immense efforts of the Non- Aligned Movement along with the strengthening support of United Nations, the nations across the globe need to uplift their governments and individuals at private and public level to make a move ahead and help end plastic pollution and make the environment healthy and worth living.