UN Environment is calling for greater political leadership and engagement to ensure a pollution-free planet for all.
In its latest report Towards a Pollution-Free Planet the organisation cites the need for political commitment across all government departments, not just the environment, and engaging with a number of stakeholders, including local government, business leaders, industries, trade unions and citizens to tackle the problem of pollution.
Technological developments and new management strategies have helped to reduce pollution in many parts of the world, but if consumption and production continues on a linear take-make-dispose model there are fears it will create a greater burden on an already polluted planet.
Greater resource efficiency, clean technologies and moving towards a circular economy are all helping to transform cities and countries but the capacity to adequately tackle pollution varies hugely across regions, social groups and genders, says the report. It adds that while change is being implemented it is limited in scope and scale with partial frameworks for global and regional environmental agreements. To date there are no legally binding agreements that systematically address pollution in all its forms, UN Environment says.
The report calls for a mix of actions building on existing internationally agreed environmental goals that will drive innovation and social equity throughout the economy. Five messages are included:
- A global compact on pollution would make prevention a priority for all
- Environmental governance needs to be strengthened at all levels with targeted action on hard-hitting pollutants
- Promoting sustainable consumption and production through improved resource efficiency by prioritising waste reduction and management
- Investment in cleaner production and consumption will help to counter pollution
- Multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaboration are vital to develop technological and ecosystem-based solutions
Tackling pollution prevention and regulation compliance is seen as an opportunity to clean up everyone’s environment while creating new jobs and improving economic productivity.