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Title:Frontline Communities Need an Ambitious Global Plastics Treaty

Children wade through floating garbage to reach their house as king tides inundate Funafuti Atoll, on 19 February 2004, home to nearly half of Tuvalu's entire population of 11,500.

An effective treaty must reduce plastic production and prioritize protecting biodiversity, safeguarding the climate and ensuring a just transition to a low-carbon, reuse-based economy.

Climate-crisis-fuelled storms have hit New Zealand hard this year. In January, we suffered unprecedented extreme weather and flooding, followed by Cyclone Gabrielle in February - the worst storm in 55 years - which triggered a national state of emergency. In total, we had 5.5 times more rain than Auckland summers typically receive.

In the aftermath, we saw first-hand one of the causes of the climate crisis: single-use plastic. Te Wai Orea, a popular Auckland park, was covered with single-use plastic pollution.

Each stage in the lifecycle of plastic, from production to disposal, fuels the climate crisis - 99% of plastics are made from fossil fuels, and corporations keep making more. According to the Minderoo Foundation, annual greenhouse gas emissions from single-use plastics in 2021 exceeded the total annual emissions of the United Kingdom.

Communities on the frontlines of any part of the plastic lifecycle, from oil extraction to trash dumps and everywhere in between, are hit with a trifecta of injustice: plastic pollution, social injustice, and the climate crisis. The plastic deluge that is left after every climate-crisis-fuelled storm only reinforces this point.

I am tangata whenua (Indigenous to Aotearoa New Zealand) and tangata Moana (Indigenous to the Pacific). What I call home is more ocean than it is land, and this ocean is our livelihood. It provides our traditional diet and is a rich source of the stories of our existence. Each Pacific island nation ties to the next through our ancestors’ great migration across the ocean by their navigational...

Date Added:6/4/2023 6:38:30 AM