Slash Plastic Pollution by 80% by 2040 : UN Goals
Explore the strategies that we can adopt to make this goal a reality
Written by Rika Andini
Explore the strategies that we can adopt to make this goal a reality
Written by Rika Andini
The world is grappling with a pressing issue: plastic pollution. Plastic, an incredibly versatile material, has become an integral part of our daily lives. However, the improper disposal and accumulation of plastic waste has led to a grave crisis. Our planet’s ecosystems, wildlife, and human health are under significant threat due to the persistence of plastic in our environment.
Plastic waste takes an incredibly long time to decompose, often hundreds of years for a single piece. As a result, our oceans, rivers, and landfills are burdened with immense amounts of plastic, causing widespread environmental damage. The issue extends beyond merely cleaning up existing waste; it necessitates proactive measures to tackle the root causes of plastic pollution.
In response to this pressing concern, the United Nations has set an ambitious goal: to reduce plastic pollution by 80% by 2040.1 Plastic pollution has been a long-standing problem, posing a significant threat to our oceans, marine life, and human well-being. The establishment of this new target signifies a pivotal moment where we can finally take concrete actions to address the issue and foster a cleaner and healthier world.
The impact of plastic pollution is devastating, as millions of tons of plastic waste find their way into our oceans each year. This waste not only harms marine life but also contaminates the food chain, ultimately affecting human health. It is a crisis demanding urgent attention, and the UN’s goal to reduce plastic pollution by 80% by 2040 marks a crucial step in the right direction.
The UN’s objective goes beyond the reduction of plastic pollution; it envisions a more sustainable future for our planet. By diminishing our reliance on single-use plastics and enhancing recycling efforts, we can foster a circular economy that benefits both the environment and the economy. Achieving this vision necessitates collaboration between businesses, governments, and individuals, working collectively towards a shared goal.
Plastic pollution has far-reaching and detrimental effects on our planet and its inhabitants. One of the most visible consequences is the damage it inflicts on our oceans and marine life. According to the United Nations, a staggering 8 million tons of plastic waste enters the oceans annually.2 This waste not only contaminates our waters but also leads to the death of marine animals and disrupts entire ecosystems and food chains.
Species often mistake plastic for food, resulting in blockages and internal injuries. Shockingly, studies indicate that more than 90% of seabirds have ingested plastic, and approximately 700 marine species are affected by plastic pollution.3
In addition to marine environments, plastic pollution also affects terrestrial ecosystems. Plastic waste finds its way into rivers, lakes, and landfills, where it contaminates soil and water sources. This contamination has negative consequences for plants, animals, and human populations that rely on these resources. The long-lasting nature of plastic means that it takes hundreds of years to degrade, causing sustained environmental damage.
Furthermore, plastic pollution poses a significant risk to human health. As plastic enters the food chain, it can end up on our plates, alongside the fish and seafood we consume. Microplastics, which are small particles resulting from the breakdown of larger plastic items, have been found in drinking water, table salt, and various food supplies. These particles can harm our digestive systems, and studies suggest they may even disrupt hormonal systems and have adverse developmental effects.
In addition to the environmental and health impacts, plastic pollution has economic implications. The costs associated with managing and cleaning up plastic waste, as well as the economic losses suffered by industries affected by pollution, are substantial.
Coastal communities dependent on tourism and fishing, for instance, may experience declines in visitors and diminished fish populations due to plastic pollution. Moreover, waste management systems must invest in infrastructure and technologies to cope with the growing volumes of plastic waste, placing strain on limited resources.
The United Nations is committed to reducing plastic pollution by 80% by 2040, and several strategies have been identified to achieve this goal. These include:
One of the primary strategies identified by the UN to reduce plastic pollution is enhancing waste management systems. This involves implementing more efficient systems for collecting, sorting, and disposing of plastic waste. Countries need to invest in recycling facilities and adopt circular economy models that prioritize waste reduction and reuse. This approach would help eliminate plastic pollution before it even enters the oceans.
The UN also recognizes the importance of sustainable consumption and production in the fight against plastic pollution. This involves reducing our reliance on single-use plastics and promoting environmentally friendly alternatives. Governments must adopt policies that encourage sustainable production practices, such as creating incentives for businesses to adopt eco-friendly practices and products. Consumers also need to be educated on the benefits of sustainable consumption habits and encouraged to make the switch.
Reducing plastic pollution is a global effort. The UN has called for strengthened international cooperation to address this issue effectively. Countries must work together to establish effective policies and regulations that aim to reduce plastic use and waste. This could include developing strategies to deal with plastic waste in developing countries or reducing the use of plastic packaging across the globe.
Raising awareness is a critical strategy in the fight against plastic pollution. The UN recognizes that educating the public and creating awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution can lead to positive changes in behavior. Governments and non-governmental organizations must engage in widespread campaigns that aim to raise awareness about plastic pollution, its effects, and possible solutions. This also involves educating individuals on how they can reduce plastic pollution in their daily lives.
As technology advances, so do the possible solutions to plastic pollution. The UN believes that investing in research and innovation can help reduce plastic pollution. This involves supporting research into new materials and technologies that could replace plastic in many applications. Governments can provide funding for research and development of alternatives to traditional plastic products.
Addressing plastic pollution is a global effort that requires collaboration among nations, organizations, and individuals. Many countries and international initiatives have made significant strides in reducing plastic pollution and can serve as success stories and models for others to follow.
The European Union is leading the way in reducing plastic waste. In 2019, the EU adopted the Single-Use Plastic Directive, which aims to reduce the use of plastic products that are commonly found in waste, such as straws, cutlery, and plates. The directive requires member states to ban these products, limit the use of plastic beverage bottles and promote more sustainable alternatives. The directive has been welcomed by environmental groups as a significant step toward reducing plastic waste.4
Australia is another country that has taken action to reduce plastic pollution. In 2018, the Australian state of Queensland implemented a ban on single-use plastic bags, which was followed by other states, including Victoria, Western Australia, and South Australia. The bans have led to a significant reduction in the number of plastic bags found in the environment, reducing marine litter and protecting wildlife.5
The United Nations’ Clean Seas campaign is a global initiative that aims to reduce marine litter by targeting the sources of pollution. The campaign encourages governments, businesses, and individuals to take action to reduce plastic waste and has led to the adoption of policies and initiatives in many countries, including Ghana, Costa Rica, and Ireland.6
Plastic-Free July is a global challenge that inspires people to reduce their use of plastic throughout the month of July. The challenge has been adopted by individuals, groups, and businesses around the world, and its impact has been significant. In 2019, over a million people from 177 countries took part in the challenge, leading to a reduction of more than 900 million kilograms of plastic waste.7
Indonesia is taking a bold and determined stance in the worldwide fight against plastic pollution, demonstrating remarkable success and unwavering dedication to combating this pressing issue. The Air Minum Bersih program stands as a shining example of Indonesia’s commitment, specifically targeting schools, health centers, and remote communities to provide clean drinking water while concurrently tackling the pervasive problem of plastic waste.
In collaboration with various stakeholders, the Air Minum Bersih program implements sustainable water projects that promote the use of refillable containers, aiming to reduce reliance on single-use plastic water bottles, which significantly contribute to plastic pollution. This groundbreaking initiative empowers individuals to refill their reusable containers at designated stations, resulting in a substantial reduction in daily plastic waste.
The impact of the Air Minum Bersih program extends beyond immediate access to clean water. It actively seeks to foster behavior change and promote education regarding the detrimental effects of plastic pollution. By encouraging the adoption of reusable alternatives and diminishing the demand for single-use plastic bottles, the program paves the way for a cleaner and more sustainable future.
Indonesia’s government has taken comprehensive measures to combat plastic waste, enacting policies and regulations that specifically target this pressing issue. These initiatives include restrictions on single-use plastics and the promotion of recycling and waste management practices. Furthermore, Indonesia actively collaborates with other countries and organizations, such as the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP), to exchange knowledge, share best practices, and work collectively towards effective solutions.8
On February 23, 2017, Indonesia made a significant commitment by joining the CleanSeas campaign led by the UN Environment. This unprecedented global initiative aims to eliminate major sources of marine litter, including microbeads in cosmetics and excessive single-use plastic consumption. Indonesia pledged to reduce plastic waste in 25 coastal cities and achieve an astonishing 70% reduction in marine litter within a mere eight years.9
Despite Indonesia’s notable progress in addressing plastic pollution, significant challenges still need to be overcome to achieve long-term success. One of the primary obstacles is changing deep-rooted consumer behavior and reducing the reliance on single-use plastics. Education and awareness campaigns will play a crucial role in fostering behavioral changes and encouraging the widespread adoption of sustainable alternatives.
Another challenge is ensuring effective waste management and recycling systems throughout the country. Building robust infrastructure and implementing efficient waste management practices are essential for reducing plastic waste and preventing it from entering the environment, particularly in remote areas where access to proper waste disposal facilities may be limited.
Financial constraints and resource limitations are also hurdles that need to be addressed. Investing in innovative solutions and technologies for plastic waste reduction requires significant funding and resources. Continued support from the government, international organizations, and private sectors will be instrumental in overcoming these financial challenges.
Looking ahead, the future outlook for Indonesia’s fight against plastic pollution is promising. With its strong commitment and proactive initiatives, the country is well-positioned to make further strides in reducing plastic waste. Continued collaboration with international partners, sharing of best practices, and learning from successful case studies will contribute to the development of effective strategies and policies.
Innovation and technological advancements will also play a crucial role in finding sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics and improving waste management practices. Encouraging research and development in this field will lead to the discovery of innovative materials and approaches that can revolutionize the way we deal with plastic waste.
Ultimately, Indonesia’s unwavering dedication and progress in addressing plastic pollution provide hope and inspiration for the global community. By addressing the challenges head-on and building on the successes achieved so far, Indonesia can continue to be a leading force in the global battle against plastic pollution
In conclusion, To tackle the global issue of plastic pollution, tackling it on a local level is critical. The Air Minum Bersih program in Indonesia highlights just how important it is to think about the big picture and take actionable steps that can have an immediate impact on our environment. From reducing plastic waste, providing clean drinking water and collaborating with other nations, Indonesia has shown what can be accomplished when diverse stakeholders join forces for a common goal.
We must continue striving towards a human-sustainable future and help support programs like Air Minum Bersih with donations and additional resources; this will keep us on track to achieve the UN’s goals of reducing plastic pollution by 80% by 2040. It is encouraging to see so many people taking action and investing in programs that are helping to preserve our planet’s resources – now it’s time for everyone else to follow their lead!
Jalan Penestanan, Sayan,
Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, 80571
AHU-0020799.AH.01.04 Tahun 2022
Berita Negara No 080 Tahun 2022
no 09, 30 September 2022