The World Is Awash in Plastic
Oil producers want a say in how it’s cleaned up
Plastic waste is everywhere. Each year, around 400 million metric tons of it end up in landfills and places like oceans, rivers and shorelines. The trash breaks down into tiny pieces called microplastics that have made their way into every corner of the environment and even into human bodies.
The problem is getting worse. So last year the United Nations set out to write a legally binding agreement to deal with the issue. That decision by U.N. member states "will clearly take us towards a future with no plastic pollution," Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Japan's then-environment minister, said at the time.
This week, negotiators from around 150 countries are gathering in Kenya to start hashing out the treaty's details. Outside groups are there too, trying to influence the talks, including public health advocates, human rights activists, environmentalists and the oil and gas industry.
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