A peaceful shift to a clean planet

My sincere thanks to my beloved friend Steffi Lemke, who hosted this year’s upcoming Berlin Forum on Chemicals and Sustainability. Also, I want to thank all the attendees for their commitment to an equitable transition to a clean and sustainable planet. and for helping to accelerate the pace in advance of the anticipated adoption of a new and ambitious global chemical instrument at this year’s fifth meeting of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) later this month.

In 1972, during in the midst of Stockholm Conference, pollution was the most visible and most threatening problem that day. It was the time when acid rain and bubbling rivers were the norm. We now know that the human race is facing a greater array of interlinked risks through the triple crisis of our planet, which includes the threat of climate change as well as the ecological crisis and biodiversity loss, and the scourge of pollution and pollution.

Changes in climate and biodiversity and nature loss are now the most prominent crises and have become the subject of international and national action. However, this isn’t an all-or-nothing game. The growing severity both of the crises has increased the severity of the environmental and waste issue, which is becoming more severe also, like I have said earlier, is closely connected to the two other issues. The non-sustainable management of chemicals throughout their entire life cycle, beginning from the time they are produced, is the main problem.

Chemicals can bring immense benefits for humanity. They are the essential building blocks of consumer products, medicine, food items, and many more. However, the other side of the coin is that dangerous and frequently long-lived chemicals are contaminating our water, air and even our bodies. We all know the problems and the figures. More than two million people die every year due to direct pollution by chemicals. The illness and productivity loss. The severe harm to ecosystems, as well as species.

You are also aware of the financial benefits of the use of sustainable chemicals and waste management. Yes, the chemical industry in the world is huge. It was worth US5 trillion dollars by 2017 and projected to grow by a third by 2030, driven primarily by megatrends in the world. Certain people are earning huge amounts of money. However, with these earnings come expenses and harm – especially for the most vulnerable and vulnerable who are impacted by chemicals.

The UNEP’s Global Chemicals Outlook showed that when environmental and health impacts are taken into account, the cost of current practices are greater than the advantages. Therefore, it’s on nations and the international community and the industry itself, to keep and increase the benefits of chemical products but also to make sure they do not cause harm.

While the expansion of the industry has created issues, it is also providing opportunities to improve sustainable production, sustainable consumption and product development. This is the type of technological innovation UNEP has been urging for while the world negotiates an agreement to stop the pollution caused by plastic. Chemists as well as process engineers and manufacturers should be creative today, in order to eliminate hazardous and unneeded plastics. This is also true for the whole chemical industry, where investment in green and sustainable chemicals is severely absent.

Change requires large-scale and ambitious actions from all sectors in which chemicals are frequently used, like construction, agriculture, and manufacturing. Governments are essential in creating the conditions for policy and to encourage industry to modify their business methods. Also, we need to help the 100 countries that don’t have the basic legal systems and capacities to ensure the safety of management of chemicals.

We are witnessing the progress. In the 5th UN Environment Assembly, members of the Assembly agreed to create an Science Policy Panel for chemicals and waste, as well as the elimination of pollution. The panel will be crucial in determining the top priority concerns for the new chemical instrument. Also, we’ve seen an increase in public opinion and momentum in the creation of this instrument within three weeks. This instrument is crucial for a smooth transition. We need to get it right.

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