A new report compiled by Valerie Denney, a long-time communications adviser to IPEN, warns that a plastic waste-burning “bioenergy” facility proposed for the city of Gary, Indiana (about 30 miles south of Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan) will cause major health and environmental problems.
See the IPEN video showing how exports of plastics and plastic waste, mostly from wealthy countries, bring toxic chemicals to Africa, exposing children and families to harmful chemicals and poisoning the circular economy.
In May 2021, the X-Press Pearl cargo ship caught fire near the Colombo Harbor (about 9.5 nautical miles away from the shoreline) of Sri Lanka with container loads of hazardous chemicals on board. The spill and resulting chemical pollution are considered the worst man-made maritime disaster to have struck Sri Lanka.
A delegation of IPEN members are joining the resumed eighteenth session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in Dakar, Senegal this week, under the theme: “Ensuring the well-being of populations and ensuring environmental sustainability in Africa".
In a welcome development, twenty countries led by Norway and Rwanda yesterday announced a coalition to end plastic pollution and work together to help forge an effective, meaningful global Plastics Treaty. According to their press release, The High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution “will issue statements and undertake intersessional work on essential elements and issues to inform the negotiations in order to develop a landmark treaty by 2024.”UNEA has mandated a Plastics Treaty based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, and, among other provisions, calls for an agreement “To promote sustainable production and consumption of plastics, including, among others, product design, and environmentally sound waste management, including through resource efficiency and circular economy approaches.”
IPEN has called for a strong, meaningful global agreement to end plastic pollution that eliminates the toxic impacts of plastics and chemicals, based on the precautionary principle, and protects the health of citizens, workers, vulnerable populations and Indigenous Peoples, and the environment. Ending the toxic impacts of plastics will require addressing all aspects of plastic production, use, transport, and disposal, with a focus on reduction and minimization of plastic production.
The IPEN team this week will participate in the UN Oceans Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, to highlight the threats to oceans from toxic chemicals, including chemicals in plastics that pose threats to human health and marine life.
Materials such as plastic and e-waste contain a cocktail of chemicals that studies show can disturb the body’s natural hormones. As ever-higher volumes of trash continue to end up in landfills, primarily waste exported from Western countries to low- and middle-income countries, waste pickers will be on the front lines of what scientists are calling an emerging health issue of global concern. And women are especially at risk.