We’ve all observed it. In our entrance yards. On the street to operate. On the neighborhood playground. At the seaside. On a hike. The entire world is drowning in plastic air pollution, from the deepest depths of the ocean to the best mountain tops. It is even located inside just about every of us — tiny particles that we’ve eaten and breathed in. In accordance to the United Nations, the planet generates about 300 million tons of plastic waste just about every 12 months — almost as a great deal as the mixed pounds of just about every man or woman on the planet. This yr, thousands and thousands of individuals tons will enter the ocean, the place they may well be consumed by maritime creatures, from little plankton to the fantastic whales or litter our seashores and coral reefs.

We can no extended prevent or hold off addressing plastic air pollution. It is time to opt for a diverse path, just one where we stay more sustainably with character. To make progress, we ought to acknowledge that plastic pollution is not just an monumental worldwide problem — it is a human-made crisis. It has enhanced tenfold because 1980. Plastic particles have polluted our air, soil and drinking water, with adverse impacts on the setting and likely human health and fitness.

Congress and the American folks have currently regarded this disaster — thanks to bipartisan aid, the Save Our Seas 2. Act was signed into law in December 2020, strengthening our capability to deal with plastic air pollution that enters our waters. But without concerted world wide attempts, plastic air pollution will go on to accumulate in our waterways and ocean, producing expanding harm to our ocean and planet.

We now have a way ahead. In February, at the fifth UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, the global local community took an critical move on that route to construct a superior entire world for generations to appear as nations around the world signaled their readiness to finish the plastic pollution crisis. Taking part nations adopted a resolution to launch negotiations on a world wide agreement to close plastic pollution — an arrangement that will be crucial for conserving the ocean for potential generations.

And the United States, supported by an amazing workforce of committed negotiators, played a pivotal role in producing the ambition and consensus to finalize that arrangement. An settlement that initiates actual and significant progress toward decreasing plastic pollution in collaboration with our companions and allies about the earth.

About the future quite a few decades, the United States will be driving negotiations to develop an impressive and formidable framework that establishes how nations around the world fight and minimize plastic pollution. A framework that accounts for personal countries’ situations and pushes for complementary motion by all stakeholders, particularly the personal sector.

Although the selection to pursue a world-wide agreement signifies an crucial action ahead, our do the job is nowhere close to above. The United States will continue our drive to stem the movement of plastic air pollution into our waterways this thirty day period at the Our Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the United States and the Republic of Palau. The Our Ocean Convention will aim on 6 wide places of action, one particular of which is combating ocean pollution, which includes plastic air pollution. This event is an possibility for countries to propel significant, substantial action on reducing the scourge of plastic air pollution clogging our waterways — which will also shield ocean environments and assist the communities that count on them for their livelihoods. 

We know that many of the environmental issues we face are relevant. By doing the job to lower air pollution for all folks throughout the world, we assist development on other world-wide problems, like increasing health and prosperity, supporting biodiversity, conserving threatened ecosystems, addressing weather change, as properly as constructing a sustainable globe for all.

We know that the street ahead is not simple. These issues have to have all of us to occur jointly and believe broadly about how we can establish a much better environmental future. There is no just one-measurement-suits-all resolution to lessening plastic pollution, and we need to use each individual available chance to make significant progress. Folks close to the entire world are fed up and demanding solutions — and so are we.

Monica P. Medina is assistant secretary of Point out for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs.