The US And Japan Are The Only G7 Nations That Refuse to Tackle Plastic Pollution
Five of the world’s leading industrial powers signed an ambitious environmental charter during 2018’s Group of Seven (G7) summit. They promised to protect our shared oceans from plastic pollution. The countries under the G7 Ocean Plastics charter include UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and European Union.
These countries all have agreed o increase plastic recycling by 50%, while also working towards 100% reusable, recyclable or recoverable plastics by 2030. The US and Japan were the only nations that refused to join. Trump shortened his time and skipped out on the G7 climate change and environment talks.
The plastics industry is the third largest manufacturing industry in the U.S. and it produces 19.5% of the world’s plastic with 1.4 million people as employees, creating about $380 billion a year. Plastic industry has created a staggering of problems. Every year, the world produces around 300 million tons of plastic, and every year, 10 million tonnes of plastic winds up in our oceans.
No matter how big the environmental issue is, the US and Japan appear to be unconcerned by plastic pollution. Last year, the White House even rolled back a rule that banned plastic bottles in national parks. Regulating plastic industry is a humungous task and never easy but G7 summit is a promising start.
The UK announced a plan to ban plastic straws, cotton swabs and single-use plastics. Then after, EU moved to ban ten of the world’s worst single-use plastics, including plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and balloon sticks. Nations outside of the G7 are also doing their part. India, for instance, just announced that it would be removing all single-use plastics by 2022.
Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said, “It’s time for the world’s largest economies to recognise that we cannot simply recycle our way out of this problem while we keep churning out so much throwaway plastic in the first place. Governments must move beyond voluntary agreements to legislate binding reduction targets and bans on single-use plastics, invest in new and reuse delivery models for products, and hold corporations accountable for the problem they have created.”
Something is obviously better than nothing, and while the US lags on federally enforced plastic pollution standards, the rest of the world is stepping up.