"The problem of global plastic pollution is becoming more and more serious. Some data show that the global cumulative production of plastic is about 9.2 billion tons from 1950 to 2017. It is expected that by 2050, the global cumulative production of plastic will increase to 34 billion tons and the annual production of plastic waste will be about 300 million tons." On April 21, at the press conference of China's first national think tank Research Report on the concept and practice of plastic pollution control in China (hereinafter referred to as the report), Zhang Deyuan, one of the authors of the report and associate researcher of the Institute of economic system and management of the Macroeconomic Research Institute of the national development and Reform Commission, revealed.
April 22 is world earth day. However, it is worrying that at present, plastic pollution has gradually become the world's second-largest focus environmental problem after climate change, which brings great challenges to global sustainable development.
Plastic pollution is everywhere and does serious harm
It has to be said that the invention of plastics has brought great convenience to human production and life. At the same time, its pollution problem can not be ignored.
According to the data of the European Plastic Manufacturers Association, from 2015 to 2020, the global plastic production and consumption increased steadily at an average rate of 2% per year. The production increased from 320 million tons in 2015 to 367 million tons in 2020, and the per capita consumption increased from 43.63 kg in 2015 to 46.60 kg in 2020. It is expected that the output of plastics will double by 2035 and triple by 2050. By then, the global annual per capita plastic consumption will reach 84.37 kg.
The report points out China is also facing serious problems of plastic pollution. With the rapid development of V and the rapid development of new areas in recent years, as well as the large demand for disposable medical and protective products caused by COVID-19, the consumption of disposable plastic products has also increased rapidly. In 2020, the consumption of plastics in China was 90.877 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 12.2%.
It should be emphasized that Zhang Deyuan said that plastics cannot be equated with pollutants from the perspective of materials themselves. The essence of plastic pollution is environmental leakage caused by improper management of plastic waste. Once plastics leak into the soil, water and other natural environment, it is difficult to degrade, which will cause visual pollution, soil pollution, water pollution and other environmental damage. Improper disposal will also affect greenhouse gas emissions and bring lasting harm to the fragile ecological environment. Micro plastics entering the food chain may also bring serious harm to human health.
"Such a serious plastic pollution problem is widespread all over the world, and it is urgent to take extensive and effective measures to deal with it." Zhang Deyuan said that this is also the original intention of the release of the report, which will help all sectors of society to comprehensively understand and understand plastic pollution, objectively view the effectiveness of China's plastic pollution control, and effectively encourage enterprises and the public to participate in plastic pollution control.
"3R" principle has achieved remarkable results in plastic pollution control in China
"In life, plastic products can be seen everywhere. It is unscientific and unrealistic to remove them." Zhang Deyuan said that in the face of potential plastic pollution risks, we must strengthen the recycling and utilization of plastic waste and develop plastic circular economy.
Zhang Deyuan introduced that China is the third country in the world to promulgate special laws on circular economy. Unlike Germany, which focuses on solid waste management, China develops circular economy in all links of production, circulation and consumption, and implements the "3R" principle in all links and the whole process of production, circulation and consumption, namely "reduce, reuse and recycle", Gradually build a circular economy development model of "resources - Product renewable resources".
According to the "3R" principle of circular economy, the first is "reduction", reduce the production and use of disposable plastic products as much as possible, and vigorously promote ecological design methods such as easy recycling and easy regeneration of plastic products from the source; The second is "reuse", exploring recyclable plastic products and business models in the circulation and consumption links; The last is "recycling". In the end disposal link, carry out the recycling and material utilization of waste plastic products, carry out energy recycling for those who do not have the conditions for material utilization, and build a treatment system covering the whole life cycle of plastic pollution.
According to the report, China's utilization of waste plastics accounted for 45% of the global total in the same period. In 2021, the recovery of waste plastics was about 19 million tons, with a material recovery rate of 31%, which was 1.74 times the average level of waste plastics in the world, and 100% of domestic materials were recycled, while the recovery rates of local materials in the United States, the European Union and Japan were only 5.31%, 17.18% and 12.50% respectively in the same period.
Not long ago, the fifth United Nations Environment Conference adopted the global agreement on ending plastic pollution control, which proposed to start intergovernmental negotiations and strive to reach a legally binding agreement by the end of 2024.
The report also pointed out that plastic pollution is a common challenge facing mankind, and no country can be spared. Therefore, it is necessary to establish the awareness of a community with a shared future for mankind, and the world should unite to take positive actions to deal with it