193 nations vow to curb plastic, chem pollution | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 08, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:57 AM, December 08, 2017

193 nations vow to curb plastic, chem pollution

The world's nations vowed Wednesday to curb plastic and chemical contamination of the air, soil, rivers and oceans, requiring a complete overhaul in the way goods are produced and consumed.

Changing the behaviour of producers and buyers would be key to achieving the vision of a "pollution-free planet" outlined in a political declaration adopted at the third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA).

"Pollution is cutting short the lives of millions of people every year," said the call to action issued by government ministers in Nairobi at the world's highest-level decision-making forum on environmental issues.

"Every day, nine out of 10 of us breathe air that exceeds WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines for air quality and more than 17,000 people will die prematurely because of it," the declaration added.

All 193 UN states are members of the UNEA.

"Every year we dump 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic in our oceans and generate over 40 million tonnes of electronic waste," the ministerial declaration said.

The assembly heard this week that pollution has become the biggest killer of humans, claiming nine million human lives every year.

Of the annual tally, nearly seven million people succumb from inhaling toxins in the air -- from car exhaust fumes, factory emissions and indoor cooking with wood and coal, according to a recent report by The Lancet medical journal.

The assembly adopted a dozen pollution-curbing resolutions -- urging governments to ban the use of lead in paint, step up "actions" to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds by 2025, and urging member states to set ambitious air quality standards.

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