Negotiators must target both production, consumption to curtail global plastic pollution

There is no data on global plastic pollution that is equivalent to the regular measurements of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. But as with greenhouse gases, the recent news has been nearly all bad. In 1950, worldwide production of plastics stood at 2 million tons per year. In 2020, it was 367 million tons (down from 368 million the year before due to the coronavirus pandemic). An increase this enormous is hard to visualise. But the 8.8m tons of plastic waste that is estimated to enter the world’s marine environment each year is the equivalent of a rubbish truck filled with plastic being tipped into the sea every minute.