World Environment Day: Open data on plastic pollution
Today is World Environment Day to raise awareness on plastic pollution. The accumulation of plastic products in the environment causes significant problems for wildlife and their habitats as well as for human populations. Approximately 7 billion out of the 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic produced from 1950 to 1917 ended up as waste in nature. Therefore, systematic change in the way we produce, use and dispose plastic is crucial.
Changing the way we reuse, recycle, reorient and diversify plastic is proposed by the UN environment programme in their report ‘Turning off the Tap: How the world can end plastic pollution and create a circular economy’. By embracing a circular economy where plastics remain in circulation for as long as possible, we can avoid or minimize waste and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic production.
According to this research, data and transparency regarding the global market for plastic are essential for effective and safe management of the plastic life cycle. For example, the OECD Global Plastics Outlook database contains datasets on the lifecycle of plastics, from the use of plastic materials to the leakage of plastic waste into the environment and the greenhouse gas emissions.
To strengthen the circular economy and combat plastic pollution, insights into the lifecycle of plastic can provide valuable solutions and drive action. The data.europa.eu portal provides more than 16.000 datasets on plastic pollution, which you can find here.