Understanding and addressing the planetary crisis of chemicals and plastics

November 9, 2022 by Miriam Diamond

Planetary functions are destabilized by the releases of large quantities and numbers of anthropogenic chemicals, which go beyond planetary boundaries and threaten the safe operating space for humanity. Here, we call for urgent action to mitigate these threats and identify opportunities for intervention along the impact pathway of anthropogenic chemicals, including plastics.

Earth and humans face a triple planetary threat of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. These three interlinked environmental crises, all of which are destabilizing Earth’s systems, require immediate evidence-based action. While international science-policy arenas for the co-production of actions for addressing the first two threats largely exist, the pollution threat requires greater awareness of the planetary impacts and solutions.

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