Close-up of compressed paper and plastic gathered into bundles and stacked outdoors at waste management facility.
A team of leading environmental experts, spearheaded by the University of Nottingham, have warned that the current war on plastic is detracting from the bigger threats to the environment.
In an article published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs) Water, the 13 experts1 say that while plastic waste is an issue, its prominence in the general public’s concern for the environment is overshadowing greater threats, for example, climate change and biodiversity loss.
The interdisciplinary team argue that much of the discourse around plastic waste is based on data that is not always representative of the environments that have been sampled. The aversion to plastic associated with this could encourage the use of alternative materials with potentially greater harmful effects.
The authors warn that plastic pollution dominates the public’s concern for the environment and has been exploited politically, after capturing the attention of the world, for example through emotive imagery of wildlife caught in plastic waste and alarmist headlines. They say small political gestures such as legislation banning cosmetic microplastics, taxing plastic bags, and financial incentives for using reusable containers, as well as the promotion of products as ‘green’ for containing less plastic than alternatives, risks instilling a complacency in society towards other environmental problems that are not as tangible as plastic pollution.
The article’s authors call on the media and others to ensure that the realities of plastic pollution are not misrepresented, particularly in the public dissemination of the issue, and urges government to minimise the environmental impact of over-consumption, however inconvenient, through product design, truly circular waste-management, and considered rather than reactionary policy.
We are seeing unprecedented engagement with environmental issues, particularly plastic pollution, from the public and we believe this presents a once in a generation opportunity to promote other, potentially greater environmental issues. This is a key moment in which to highlight and address areas such as ‘throw-away’ culture in society and overhaul waste management. However, if there is a continuation in prioritising plastic, this opportunity will be missed – and at great cost to our environment.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- 'Hamilton,' the prophets and liberal Catholicism: Poet Amanda Gorman took her shoton January 25, 2021 at 10:43 am
After Inauguration Day, everyone was buzzing -- obviously -- about weary Sen. Bernie Sanders and his mittens, as well as Lady Gaga's massive social-distance enforcing dress. Commentators explored the ...
- The homeless drug addict who became a professoron January 24, 2021 at 1:02 pm
Jesse slept for four months in a car parked by the Fraser River just outside Vancouver, surrounded by other homeless people - the majority of them also Indigenous. "It was horrible. It broke my heart ...
- COLUMN: King's speech still speaks to Americaon January 24, 2021 at 4:09 am
You might be tired of Washington, D.C. but can we look at it just one more time? I have something to show you.
- Sustainably Yours: Preventing the next pandemicon January 23, 2021 at 7:10 pm
Thailand had its first reported case of COVID-19 in Bangkok. It was also the first case outside of China, so the pandemic has been with us for about one year.
- Netflix: Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘The Master’ Is a Hidden Gem That Will Have Your Head Spinningon January 19, 2021 at 9:15 pm
Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master' truly knocked it out of the park with this one and multiple viewings needed to fully process the scope of the film’s ideas.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- New Westminster wants region to be proactive on single-use plastic banon January 25, 2021 at 12:49 pm
New Westminster is sticking to its goal of banning single-use items but would like it to be done across the region. In August 2019, city council directed staff to explore the implementation of a ban ...
- Seven brands helping you to ditch single-use plasticon January 24, 2021 at 5:29 am
These clever companies have come up with a solution to help you cut down on the plastic packaged stuff stockpiled in the kitchen and bathroom cupboards.
- Public urged to dispose of single-use PPE responsiblyon January 23, 2021 at 12:44 am
Government is urging the public to dispose of disposable face coverings responsibly. It's after reports of 'concerning' amounts of PPE ending up in the Island's glens, rivers and beaches. During the ...
- Most items collected from local recycling program since 2018 dumped in landfillon January 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Problems with the global recycling industry and materials not properly sorted meant only 32 per cent of the 1,656 tonnes of items tossed into home blue bins actually went to recycling facilities last ...
- Ramsay saves more than 9 million plastic items from landfillon January 19, 2021 at 4:28 pm
Ramsay Health Care Australia is making a meaningful, positive impact on the environment, preventing more than 9 million single-use plastic items ...