Greenpeace Aotearoa is reaffirming its call on the government to support a strong global plastics treaty after research reveals 74 metric tonnes of microplastics is dispersed onto Auckland every year.
The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Auckland and found the equivalent of three million plastic bottles is falling from the sky onto Auckland.
Greenpeace Aotearoa campaigner Juressa Lee says this further confirms that we are in a plastics pollution crisis and that plastics and microplastics have invaded every part of the human experience.
“This new revelation paints a horrifying picture: the equivalent of three million plastic Coca-cola bottles falling from the sky onto Auckland city. We’re breathing and drinking plastic, and this discovery raises even more concerns about particles accumulating in the human body.”
Lee says the government needs to continue to advocate for a strong and ambitious global plastics treaty that puts the world on a path to eliminate plastic pollution. Domestically, action to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic also needs the government’s urgent and courageous efforts.
“That plastic and microplastics have been discovered in the deepest parts of our ocean, in our bodies, kai moana, breast milk, and now falling from the skies is clear proof that we need a global plastics treaty.
Scientists suggest waves breaking in the Hauraki Gulf may have played a key role by transmitting water-borne microplastics into the air.
“Our oceans are interconnected, and our South Pacific island nations are dealing with massive amounts of plastic waste they did not produce or discard. That is why we need a strong and ambitious global plastics treaty that is informed by the most affected people, emphasises the lived experiences of indigenous, frontline and fenceline communities and puts the world on a path to end plastic pollution.”
Lee was part of the first Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) in Uruguay last week, where a global plastics treaty was discussed.
The negotiations follow a mandate for a strong and ambitious global plastics treaty agreed upon earlier this year in March at the United Nations Environment Assembly.
Since then, Greenpeace Aotearoa has called on the government to support a strong and ambitious global plastics treaty, and its petition has been signed by over 31,000 people.
“The evidence is clear: plastics are a threat to our environment, our health and global human rights. We now have a prime opportunity for a global instrument that will change course and end the age of plastic, and so we must keep calling for our government to advocate for a just plastics treaty and remain steadfast,” says Lee.
Call on the NZ Government to ban unnecessary single-use plastic bottles* in NZ, and to incentivise reusable and refillable alternatives.