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OECD Interim Report: Eliminating Plastic Pollution by 2040


Recently, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released the interim report titled-Towards Eliminating Plastic Pollution by 2040: A Policy Scenario Analysis, ahead of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC3).


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the Report on Global Plastic Pollution (2022-2040)
  2. Recommendations to Address Plastic Pollution

Key Highlights of the Report on Global Plastic Pollution (2022-2040)

  • Plastic Leakage Statistics (2022):
    • 21 million tonnes (MT) of plastics leaked globally into the environment.
  • Business-as-Usual Scenario (2040):
    • Predicts a 50% increase in macroplastic leakage by 2040.
    • Anticipates 30 MT of plastic leakage, with 9 MT entering aquatic environments.
  • Stabilizing Plastic Use (2040):
    • Stabilizing primary plastic use at 2020 levels still results in significant leakage (12 MT) by 2040.
  • Ambitious Global Action (2040):
    • Ambitious action could drastically reduce waste generation, almost eliminating mismanaged waste and nearly eliminating plastic leakage.
    • Potential to cut plastic waste generation in 2040 by a quarter below baseline.
    • Virtually eliminate mismanaged waste by 2040, reducing leakage to 1.2 MT.
    • Stocks of plastics in rivers and oceans still expected to rise but 74 MT less than the baseline.
  • Environmental and Health Impacts:
    • Escalating plastic use and disposal adversely affect the environment (habitat destruction, soil contamination), climate (contributing to 3.8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions), and human health.
  • Global Policy Actions (2040):
    • Early, stringent, and coordinated policy action could have a significant positive impact.
    • Costs of ambitious actions amount to 0.5% of global GDP in 2040.
  • Investment Needs (2020-2040):
    • Fast-growing countries with less advanced waste management systems require over USD 1 trillion for waste collection, sorting, and treatment.
    • Emphasizes the importance of international cooperation due to the uneven distribution of costs.

Recommendations to Address Plastic Pollution

  • Comprehensive Policy Approach:
    • Develop and implement various policy scenarios that comprehensively address plastic pollution throughout its lifecycle.
    • Emphasize the importance of holistic policies to effectively tackle plastic pollution at different stages.
  • Overcoming Technical and Economic Barriers:
    • Prioritize efforts to overcome technical and economic barriers hindering the elimination of plastic leakage by 2040.
    • Invest in research and development to find innovative solutions that address the challenges associated with plastic waste management.
  • Recycling Breakthroughs:
    • Focus on fostering breakthroughs in recycling technologies to enhance the efficiency and viability of plastic recycling processes.
    • Encourage the development of sustainable and cost-effective recycling methods to reduce reliance on single-use plastics.
  • Scaling Up International Markets:
    • Facilitate the scaling up of well-functioning international markets for scrap and secondary plastics.
    • Promote collaboration between countries to establish efficient mechanisms for the global trade of recycled plastics, encouraging a circular economy.
  • International Cooperation:
    • Foster international collaboration to share knowledge, resources, and best practices in combating plastic pollution.
    • Establish a global framework for coordinated action, acknowledging the shared responsibility in addressing the transboundary nature of plastic waste.
  • Public Awareness and Education:
    • Implement public awareness campaigns and educational programs to promote responsible plastic use and disposal.
    • Encourage behavioral changes to reduce plastic consumption and increase public understanding of the environmental impact of plastic pollution.
  • Incentives for Sustainable Practices:
    • Introduce economic incentives for businesses and industries adopting sustainable practices, such as reducing plastic use and implementing eco-friendly packaging.
    • Encourage the private sector to invest in and adopt environmentally responsible alternatives to traditional plastic products.
  • Legislation and Regulation:
    • Enact and enforce robust legislation and regulations targeting the production, use, and disposal of plastics.
    • Implement measures to hold industries accountable for their plastic footprint and encourage the adoption of eco-friendly alternatives.
  • Monitoring and Reporting:
    • Establish a comprehensive monitoring and reporting system to track progress in plastic waste reduction efforts.
    • Regularly assess the effectiveness of implemented policies and adjust strategies based on real-time data and evolving challenges.

-Source: Down To Earth

December 2023