14.2 C
London
Sunday, June 20, 2021

Update COVID-19 25 October 2020

25 October 2020 — Six (6) new COVID-19 cases were identified out of 1282 samples tested today. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases to five thousand, and sixty-six (5066). To date, four thousand, eight hundred, and thirty (4830) patients have recovered, including twenty-four (24) in the past 24 hours. The number of active…
More

    Latest Posts

    US 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WAS STOLEN YET MANY REPUBLICANS ARE QUIET, WHY?

    Bernie Kerik a former New York City Police Commissioner and one of the most respected figures in...

    Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms blames city’s crime spike on GOP-led reopening

    Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms blames a crime wave in her city on lax gun laws, young people being out of school and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to make Georgia one of the early states to begin reopening. Asked if officers have been "hesitant" to respond to crime amid heightened tensions of the past year, Bottoms…

    Kevin Hart shows off physique, reveals he worked with Navy Seals for upcoming movie

    Kevin Hart had some special help when preparing for his upcoming movie.The 41-year-old actor has been working to branch out of comedy lately, stretching into drama with Netflix's "Fatherhood" and dipping his toe into the world of action-adventure with the upcoming film "Borderlands."Earlier this week, Hart took to Instagram to show off his physique after…

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasts Bears football team over relocating rumors

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot threw some major shade at the Chicago Bears on Friday, just one day after the organization announced it made a bid for land in Arlington Heights with plans to possibly build a new stadium there. Lightfoot, a self-declared "longtime" fan, issued a statement slamming the announcement as just "noise."JAY CUTLER FEELING POSSIBLE…

    Global treaty to regulate plastic pollution gains momentum…

    Even producers have an interest in global rules on plastic waste that would resolve the inconsistencies among countries.

    Published June 8, 2021

    8 min read

    The simple plastic bag has come to symbolize the world’s growing problem with plastic waste. Yet globally, there are seven definitions of what is considered a plastic bag—and that complicates efforts to reduce their proliferation. 

    Banning bags, along with other plastic packaging, is the most commonly used remedy to rein in plastic waste. So far, 115 nations have taken that approach, but in different ways. In France, bags less than 50 microns thick are banned. In Tunisia, bags are banned if they are less than 40 microns thick.

    Those kinds of differences create loopholes that enable illegal bags to find their way to street vendors and market stalls. Kenya, which passed the world’s toughest bag ban in 2017, has had to contend with illegal bags smuggled in from Uganda and Somalia. So has Rwanda. 

    Likewise, millions of mosquito nets that Rwanda imported from the United States arrived in plastic packaging for which the chemical content was not disclosed—even after a Rwandan recycler inquired. That rendered them unrecyclable.

    For global companies like Nestlé, which sells food products in 187 countries, that means complying with 187 different sets of national regulations on plastic packaging.

    These are but three examples of hundreds of contradictory policies, inconsistencies, and lack of transparency that are embedded in the global plastics trade in ways that make it hard to gain control of the growing accumulation of plastic waste. Not only do definitions differ from country to country, there also are no global rules for such practices as determining which plastic materials can be mixed together in one product; that creates a potential nightmare for recycling. Internationally accepted methods for how to measure plastic waste spilling into the environment don’t exist. Without uniform standards or specific data, the job of fixing it all becomes essentially impossible. 

    Now, help may be on the way. Support is growing for a global treaty to address plastic waste. At least 100 nations have already expressed support for a plastic treaty, and those involved in preliminary talks are optimistic that one could be approved on a pace that could make a difference, much as the 1987 landmark Montreal protocol prevented depletion of the stratospheric ozone.

    “Fundamentally, governments will not be able to do what they are supposed to do if they can’t count on an international partnership and international framework. It is not going to work,” says Hugo-Maria Schally, head of the multilateral environmental cooperation unit at the European Commission. “It is a concrete problem that asks for a concrete solution and a global agreement will provide that.”

    Schally’s message to industry is direct: “You can work with public policy (to make) plastic sustainable and that means you can be part of the solution, or you can become defensive and then you’re part of the problem.”

    A surge in waste

    The primary argument against trying to push a treaty through the United Nations and its 193 member states is that negotiations can drag on for a decade or more, and on the issue of plastics, there is little time to spare. 

    New plastics waste is created yearly at a rate of 303 million tons (275 million metric tons). To date, 75 percent of all plastic ever produced has become waste, and production is expected to triple by 2050. New research this year suggests that the accumulation of plastic waste in the oceans is also expected to triple by 2040 to an average of 32 million tons (29 million metric tons) a year. 

    With numbers like those, it’s no surprise that none of the nations that are the most significant contributors of plastic waste to the environment have been able to gain control of their mismanaged waste. And though global treaties take time, no environmental issue of this magnitude has been significantly addressed without one. 

    Plastic pollution has been on the agenda at the United Nations since 2012. In 2019, when the UN Environmental Assembly last gathered face-to-face in Nairobi, talks about plastic waste were stymied primarily by the United States, which opposed a binding treaty. The only agreement that emerged was an agreement to keep talking.

    Over the last decade, the ground has shifted dramatically. “In 2015, no country had expressed an interest in pursuing a global treaty,” says Erik Lindebjerg, who is spearheading the World Wildlife Fund’s plastic waste campaign from Oslo. He helped oversee publication of The Business Case for a UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution, a report prepared in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which details how a treaty could solve an assortment of business problems. “In one sense, we’ve reached a saturation point, so you suddenly see impacts everywhere.”

    Industry also has reversed its opposition.  

    “We have evolved our position as the situation has evolved,” says Stewart Harris, an American Chemistry Council executive speaking on behalf of the International Council of Chemical Associations, a global chemistry association of which the ACC is a member. 

    “We were concerned with the binding element of a global [treaty]. We felt we weren’t ready for that yet,” he says. “And now that’s changed. Now we do believe a global instrument is needed to help us achieve the elimination of waste in the environment and help companies achieve voluntary commitments.”

    What’s on the negotiating table 

    Preliminary talks are already underway, all aimed at the next in-person meeting in Nairobi, where hopes are high that agreement can be reached to move ahead with treaty discussions.

    Scandanavian nations traditionally have run talks about plastic waste, with Norway, as current president of the UN Environmental Assembly, taking the lead. But other groups of nations have been meeting and pushed the conversation forward. Ecuador, Germany, Ghana, and Vietnam have held several sessions, with another planned for September. Small island nations, inundated by drifting plastic waste and with much to lose in climate change, have conducted preliminary talks of their own.

    The overarching goal of early talks has been to set a specific date to eliminate plastic from spilling into the oceans. The rest of the agenda is centered around four topics: a  harmonized set of definitions and standards that would eliminate inconsistencies such as the definition of a plastic bag; coordination of national targets and plans; agreement on reporting standards and methodologies; and creation of a fund to build waste management facilities where they are most needed in less developed countries.

    Christina Dixon, an oceans specialist at the Environmental Investigation Agency, an environmental nonprofit based in London and Washington, says that the existing methods for managing the plastic marketplace are not sustainable. “We need to find a way to look at plastic with a global lens. We have a material that is polluting throughout its lifecycle and across borders. No one country is able to address the challenge by itself.”

    The power of the public—and of dialogue

    Public opinion is also prompting change. Plastic pollution ranks as one of the three most-pressing environmental concerns, along with climate change and water pollution, according to a 2019 survey included in the Business Case for a UN Treaty report. Young activists who took to the streets in 2019 to protest lack of action on climate have been paying attention to plastic waste. Multiple industry studies show that Gen Z and Millennials are pushing makers of consumer products towards sustainability practices.

    Then, there’s a simple matter that the opposing sides are now talking to each other. 

    In 2019, Dave Ford, a former advertising executive whose company had been hosting corporate leaders on expensive trips to Antarctica, Africa and the like, decided to host a four-day cruise and talkathon from Bermuda to the Sargasso Sea for 165 people working on plastic waste. The passenger roster ranged from executives at Dow Chemical to Greenpeace. In a move designed to get maximum publicity, a Greenpeace activist roomed with a Nestlé executive in what became known on board as the Sleeping With The Enemy moment. 

    The ploy worked. Many members from the cruise are still talking to each other and tensions that had been building eased.

    “What we’re trying to do is get all the parties historically fighting each other to understand where everybody sits,” Ford says. “In a lot of cases, they might be closer than they think.”

    Latest Posts

    US 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WAS STOLEN YET MANY REPUBLICANS ARE QUIET, WHY?

    Bernie Kerik a former New York City Police Commissioner and one of the most respected figures in...

    Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms blames city’s crime spike on GOP-led reopening

    Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms blames a crime wave in her city on lax gun laws, young people being out of school and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to make Georgia one of the early states to begin reopening. Asked if officers have been "hesitant" to respond to crime amid heightened tensions of the past year, Bottoms…

    Kevin Hart shows off physique, reveals he worked with Navy Seals for upcoming movie

    Kevin Hart had some special help when preparing for his upcoming movie.The 41-year-old actor has been working to branch out of comedy lately, stretching into drama with Netflix's "Fatherhood" and dipping his toe into the world of action-adventure with the upcoming film "Borderlands."Earlier this week, Hart took to Instagram to show off his physique after…

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasts Bears football team over relocating rumors

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot threw some major shade at the Chicago Bears on Friday, just one day after the organization announced it made a bid for land in Arlington Heights with plans to possibly build a new stadium there. Lightfoot, a self-declared "longtime" fan, issued a statement slamming the announcement as just "noise."JAY CUTLER FEELING POSSIBLE…

    Don't Miss

    Irina Shayk hangs out with ex Bradley Cooper amid Kanye West dating rumors

    Irina Shayk and her ex Bradley Cooper were spotted together in New York City as dating rumors between the model and Kanye West heat up.On Thursday, they were photographed getting into a car together both donning casual outfits and sunglasses.Shayk, 35, and Cooper, 46, were in a relationship from 2015 to 2019 and welcomed their…

    Tiger Global in talks to back BharatPe at $2.5 billion valuation

    Indian fintech startup BharatPe is in advanced stages of talks to raise about $250 million in a new financing round led by Tiger Global, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. The new round, a Series E, is giving the three-year-old New Delhi-headquartered firm a pre-money valuation of $2.5 billion, sources said, requesting anonymity…

    UK’s ICO warns over ‘big data’ surveillance threat of live facial recognition in public

    The UK’s chief data protection regulator has warned over reckless and inappropriate use of live facial recognition (LFR) in public places. Publishing an opinion today on the use of this biometric surveillance in public — to set out what is dubbed as the “rules of engagement” — the information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, also noted that…

    Ford acquires Electriphi as it prepares to woo EV fleet customers

    Ford has two electric vehicles in the pipeline —  the E-Transit cargo van and F-150 Lighting Pro —aimed at commercial customers. Now, the automaker is rounding out its future EV commercial business with the acquisition of battery management and fleet monitoring software startup Electriphi. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. Ford is betting that the…

    Delivery service Gopuff acquires rideOS for $115 million

    On-demand goods, food and alcohol delivery service Gopuff has acquired fleet management platform rideOS for $115 million, sources familiar with the deal say. This acquisition comes just a few months after the Philadelphia-based startup announced a $1.15 billion funding round at a $8.9 billion valuation, up from $3.9 billion in October. Last fall, the company…

    Stay in touch

    To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

    × Share your content