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The Arctic’s Plastic Crisis, a report by Petrochemical Industry


Why is it in the news?

  • The report on the Arctic’s plastic crisis was released by Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) and the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), a global network advocating for a toxics-free future.

Key findings of the Report

  • It highlights environmental violations by petrochemical industries, including oil spills and release of hazardous substances, polluting the Arctic region.
  • Plastic and toxic chemicals from around the world deposit and accumulate in the Arctic, making it a “hemispheric sink” due to atmospheric and oceanic currents in a process known as global distillation or the “grasshopper effect.”
  • These chemicals pose threats to the environment and health of Arctic people, including polyaromatic hydrocarbons linked to cancer and heart disease, and bisphenols linked to obesity and cancer.
  • Rapid warming of the Arctic is leading to displacement and threatening food security among indigenous communities such as the Aleut, Yupik, and Inuit.

Recommendations

  • Ending government subsidies to fossil fuel and petrochemical industries, adopting the Louisville Charter for Safer Chemicals to eliminate toxic chemicals and plastics, integrating Just Transition framework principles into policies, and strengthening the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
  • Additionally, adopting a legally binding Global Plastics Treaty is suggested.
Initiatives for the Arctic region

·       The Arctic Council, which facilitates cooperation among Arctic states on environmental protection and sustainable development, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

·       The report also suggests the adoption of the UN High Seas Treaty to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the Arctic.

 

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