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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 6 - 12  > End plastic pollution for sake of future generations
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2018 June 6 - 12 [SOCIAL ISSUES]
column 

End plastic pollution for sake of future generations

June 10, 2018

Akahata ‘current’ column

More than 80 plastic bags were discovered in the stomach of a whale carcass. It was a member of a small-sized whale species and was barely alive when found stranded on a beach in northern Thailand. After its death, researchers dissected the body and determined that the animal had swallowed eight kilograms of plastic garbage.

Every year, eight million tons of plastic waste are discharged into the sea worldwide. This problem is becoming more and more serious. Plastics not only cause pollution but also pose a threat to wildlife. Small pieces of plastic are often mistaken for food and eaten by fish and birds and many of these particles end up in human bodies.

“Beat Plastic Pollution” is the theme for this year’s United Nations World Environment Day (June 5). The UN seeks to reduce the production and use of single-use plastic goods. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres calls on the international community to tackle the plastic pollution problem.

The EU has announced that it will restrict the use of disposable plastic goods such as straws and dishes. Member nations will be required to increase recovery rates of PET bottles, and manufacturers will be urged to shoulder a part of recovery costs. Some countries and regions have enacted laws to ban or regulate the use of plastic bags.

On the other hand, African and Asian countries are slow in taking action against this type of pollution, although they generate a large amount of plastic waste. Japan is an island nation and a major producer of the waste, but its government is reluctant to implement measures to address the issue, leaving the matter to the business sector. EU officials warn that it is necessary to change the way plastic goods are produced and used, otherwise the sea will have more plastic waste than fish to eat it.

The production of plastics has grown in tandem with the advance of modern civilization. We have greatly benefited from the material and can no longer imagine a life without plastics. With plastics causing serious pollution on a global scale, the world has to take on the responsibility to create rules to minimize the impact of the use of plastics.
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