INTERNATIONAL

50 nations ‘curbing plastic pollution’

UNITED NATIONS, June 5: Fifty nations are now taking action to reduce plastic pollution, a UN report released on Tuesday said. It revealed that the Galapagos will ban single-use plastics, Sri Lanka will ban styrofoam and China is insisting on biodegradable bags, reports the BBC. In many developing countries, plastic bags are causing floods by blocking drains, or they are being eaten by cattle.

The report has said that policies to combat plastic waste have had mixed results. In Cameroon, plastic bags are banned and households are paid for every kilo of plastic waste they collect, but still plastic bags are being smuggled in.

In several countries, rules on plastic exist but are poorly enforced. The report presents an A-Z of 35 potential bio substitutes for plastic. It runs from Abaca hemp (from the inedible banana Musa textilis) to Zein (from a maize protein). The list includes rabbit fur, sea grass and foam made with fungus. It mentions QMilch, a firm that create casein textile fibres from waste milk. It also highlights Pinatex, a plastic alternative made from pineapple leaves.

Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, said: “The assessment shows that action can be painless and profitable – with huge gains for people and the planet that help avert the costly downstream costs of pollution. Plastic isn’t the problem. It’s what we do with it.” The report says levies and bans have been among the most effective strategies to curb plastic waste. (IANS)