BREST, France: CMA CGM has announced it will cease carrying plastic waste on its ships from June 01 this year.
According to the UN, annual global plastic production is now 400 million tonnes per year. Only an estimated 12 percent has been incinerated and only 9.0 percent recycled. The remainder has either been dumped in landfills or the ocean.
Without implementing a UN Plastics Treaty to be discussed at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi this month, the amount of plastic waste in aquatic ecosystems is expected to rise from 11 million tonnes in 2016 to 29 million tonnes by 2040.
Over two million people, 100 global companies, 700-plus civil society organisations and 75 percent of UN member countries have signed a petition for the treaty.
“Without a doubt, unchecked plastic pollution will become a contributing factor to the ongoing sixth mass extinction leading to widespread ecosystem collapse and transgression of safe planetary boundaries,” commented WWF deputy Ocean Lead Ghislaine Llewellyn.
“The way out of our plastic crisis is for countries to agree to a globally binding treaty that addresses all stages of plastic’s lifecycle and that puts us on a pathway to ending marine plastic pollution by 2030,” she added.
Last month an international team of scientists announced the volume of chemical production, including plastic, has breached a planetary boundary necessary for human survival.
In 2009, researchers identified nine boundaries that defined the Holocene era, stable since the dawn of civilization some 10,000-plus years ago. They include greenhouse gas emissions, the ozone layer, forests, freshwater and biodiversity.
With plastic production increasing 79 percent between 2000 and 2015, the scientists say mankind has now exceeded a fifth boundary with the manufacture of an estimated 350,000 different types of chemicals including plastics, pesticides, industrial chemicals, chemicals in consumer products, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals.
A new WWF-commissioned review of over 2,590 studies warns that by the end of the century, marine areas more than two and a half times the size of Greenland could exceed ecologically dangerous thresholds of microplastic concentration.
The threshold has already been exceeded in the Mediterranean, the East China and Yellow Seas and the Arctic sea ice.
"All evidence suggests that plastic contamination of the ocean is irreversible. Once distributed in the ocean, plastic waste is almost impossible to retrieve,” noted Heike Vesper, WWF director Marine Programme for Germany. “It steadily degrades and so the concentration of micro- and nanoplastics will continue to increase for decades. Targeting the causes of plastic pollution is far more effective than cleaning up afterwards. If governments, industry and society act in unison now, they can still limit the plastic crisis.”
Speaking this week at the One Ocean Summit organized by French president Emmanuel Macron, CMA CGM CEO and president Rodolphe Saadé said his company's plastics ban will prevent the waste from being exported to destinations where sorting, recycling or recovery cannot be assured.
Story Type: News
Terms & Conditions