Between 1950 and 2017, plastic production soared from 2 million tonnes to 348 million tonnes, and it is expected to double in capacity by 2040. Currently, its environmental impact is global.
On Friday, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) called on the global community to invest in science and technology in finding solutions to environmental pollution.
Countries also need to invest in the development of skills in youths through capacity-building to inculcate in them digital transformation techniques, UNEP executive director Inger Andersen said, adding that global nations to invest in engineering institutions to help design new products with recycled products.
"We need to invest in academic institutions to help find solutions to the global environmental problems that threaten humanity and the environment," Andersen said during the launch of Kenya's national sustainable waste management policy and national marine litter management action plan.
The launch was a side event at a special session to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the UNEP in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Andersen commended Kenya for its ban on single-use plastics and on the use of plastics in national and game parks.
This is what a global reliance on single-use plastic bottles looks like.— 4ocean (@4ocean) March 2, 2022
Single-use plastic bottles are used for just minutes but can last as pollution in the environment for up to 500 years. And our cleanup crews around the world find thousands of plastic bottles every day. pic.twitter.com/eJUTIUIip2
"Plastic production soared from 2 million tonnes in 1950 to 348 million tonnes in 2017, becoming a global industry valued at US$522.6 billion, and it is expected to double in capacity by 2040. The impacts of plastic production and pollution on the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss and pollution are a catastrophe in the making," UNEP recalled at the Nairobi meeting.
"A shift to a circular economy can reduce the volume of plastics entering oceans by over 80 percent by 2040; reduce virgin plastic production by 55 percent; save governments US$70 billion by 2040; reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent; and create 700,000 additional jobs – mainly in the global south," it added.
Carole Kariuki, chief executive officer of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), said the national sustainable waste management policy and the national marine litter management action plan will promote recycling, which is still low in the country.