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FIBGAR / Articles  / World Environment Day: reducing plastic pollution would extend the life of our human rights 

World Environment Day: reducing plastic pollution would extend the life of our human rights 

In the last 50 years, global plastic production has grown exponentially, leaving in its wake 9.2 billion tons of plastic between 1950 and 2017, as stated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Of that large amount of waste, 7 billion ended up between landfills and different natural environments, so that every minute the equivalent of a truckload of used plastics is dumped into the ocean. Thus, the planet is being highly polluted by objects whose degradation would take thousands of years, which contributes to worsening the environmental crisis in which we are already immersed. 

 Our capacity to produce food has been diminished, our water polluted and, consequently, our health and standard of living. But it is not only plastics that have caused planetary ill health, but our production and consumption systems have taken on a pace of plundering of natural resources and pollution that is unsustainable for human life on Earth. Thus, our current habits and way of life are compromising our own human rights and global governance.  

This environmental degradation causes changes in all our ecosystems, affecting flora and fauna, and forcing many people to migrate for climatic reasons. The World Meteorological Organization estimates that between 1998 and 2020 in Latin America and the Caribbean, climatic and geophysical phenomena caused 312,000 deaths and more than 277 million people were seriously affected. This is why climate change is something that is already showing its negative consequences and that it is not an issue to be dealt with in the long term, but one that requires urgent action. 

 In addition to all this vulnerability, there is inequality, poverty and the lack of resources and capacity to adapt to extreme weather changes. Thus, the international community must work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order not to compromise the lives of future generations, who are and will be more vulnerable to climate change and inequalities. Thus, the SDGs aim to achieve a balance that eliminates the vulnerabilities that certain populations suffer and achieve a harmonious life with our natural environments. 

From FIBGAR, we firmly believe that future generations must be well informed and become agents of change from an early age. In this way, they will be able to get involved in the political arena and shape the rules that affect them directly, achieving a healthier and more harmonious Earth with human life. Thus, from projects such as DEC (Environmental and Digital Citizenship), we aim to train young people in the new digital tools and in the interrelation between human rights and the environment, so that they take perspective of the climate crisis and act as soon as possible. 

This year, with a view to curbing plastic pollution, World Environment Day focuses on the urgent need to address this type of pollution. Thus, the UN has published a roadmap to curb the excessive production of plastics. In this report, experts claim that this type of pollution could be reduced by 80% by 2040, if countries and companies transform their policies and methods of production and consumption. 

The report Turning Off the Tap: How the World Can End Pollution and Create a Circular Economy, aims to raise awareness about the seriousness of the problem and serve as a guide for governments and businesses to make the necessary change to address the root causes of this pollution. To this end, it sets out three key lines of action: reuse, recycling and reorientation-diversification. In this way, society must focus on reducing the use of plastics and on reduction of the use of plastics and focus on its circular market. 

 For this reason, FIBGAR has been fighting for years against the massive pollution of our ecosystems and for the recognition of the crime of ecocide as the fifth international crime in the Rome Statute. In this way, the massive damage and destruction to ecosystems will no longer enjoy the impunity they have enjoyed until today.  

Carmen Coleto Martínez, project technician responsible for the environmental area 

Madrid, 5th of july of 2023