Plastic pollution, citizens need a global treaty

This was revealed by the survey promoted by the WWF and the Plastic Free Foundation, which ask for the establishment of high standards to address all phases of the life cycle of plastic and define the way to put an end to plastic pollution by 2030

On average around 90% of people surveyed in 28 countries believe they have a Global Treaty on Plastics is important to effectively address the plastic pollution crisis; in addition, 85% want manufacturers and retailers to be held accountable for their end of life plastic packaging. The opinion of the Italians interviewed is among the top ten: we are in sixth place with a percentage of 94% of those interviewed in favor of the treaty. This was revealed by the WWF and the Plastic Free Foundation who commissioned Ipsos to carry out a survey of over 20,000 citizens between the ages of 17 and 74 interviewed at the end of 2021: this is the first comprehensive and global survey on the need for a treaty to address the plastic pollution.

These findings should further strengthen the urgency to establish high global standards to address all stages of the plastic life cycle and define the way to put an end to plastic pollution by 2030. The spotlight, in fact, is now on the member states that will have to start negotiations at the next United Nations meeting on the environment scheduled for the end of February.

The WWF asks the Italian government to correct the provisions introduced in the Italian legislation transposing the EU directive ‘Sup’ on single-use plastics, reinforcing, as requested by the European Commission, the measures that discourage single-use and support the use of reusable packaging.

The survey finds one strong public demand for ambitious and coordinated action. Latin American countries lead with 93% of respondents recognizing the importance of a Global Plastics Treaty, followed by European citizens involved in the survey and those from the Asian Pacific region. The percentage of people who think a treaty is important is highest in Mexico (96%), China (95%) and Peru (95%), Italy in sixth place with 94% of respondents in favor.

Furthermore, about three-quarters of the sample of respondents think that single-use plastics should be banned as soon as possible and 82% say they want to buy as little plastic packaging as possible. The survey also found that 85% of respondents want manufacturers and retailers to be held accountable for reducing, reusing and recycling plastic packaging.

Public awareness and concern about the plastics crisis have increased as the problem of excessive consumption and plastic pollution has grown exponentially: models suggest that continuing with the current production-use model will double the production of plastic waste and the tripling of the spread of plastic in the oceans by 2040, compared to 2016 levels. It is known that 2,144 species of microbes, plants and animals are affected by the pollution caused by plastic, while the social, environmental and economic costs of that produced in 2019 alone are estimated at at least 3.7 trillion US dollars (+/- 1 trillion US dollars) over the course of its ‘life’ period.