‘Recycling of metal, minerals can generate six million jobs’
Achieving five per cent annual increase in recycling rates for plastics, glass, wood pulp, metals and minerals can generate around six million additional jobs across the world, the International Labour Organisation has said.
The Director-General, ILO, Guy Ryder, in a statement to mark the World Environment Day, said more than 32 per cent of plastic packaging escapes collection systems, as most of them end up in landfills, dumps, oceans or farm lands.
According to Ryder, plastic has become the workhorse of the modern economy and is found in all aspects of modern life. While providing significant benefits, the current use of plastics has many drawbacks, hence there was need to keep the planet safe, clean and fit for work.
“The sad reality is that the handling of plastic waste, as well as e-waste and other fast-growing solid waste streams, remains largely part of the informal economy in many countries.
Unless we act now, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050,” he said.
He noted that it is more worrisome that the handling of plastic waste, as well as e-waste and other fast-growing solid waste streams, remains largely part of the informal economy in many countries.
Workers face serious decent work deficits, such as work-related hazards, discrimination, stigmatization, violence and harassment, low earnings and long working hours and often are not legally registered and are not protected by labour laws, with no access to social protection benefits.
The ILO chief opined that addressing the gaps would greatly enhance opportunities for decent work, noting that a coherent and integrated legal framework is a first step in that direction.
Ryder called on the governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations to act as they have an important role to play.
He added: “The challenge before us is to transform the “make-use-dispose” plastics’ economy into a circular economy, based on recycling. We also need to reduce our consumption of single-use or disposable plastic.
“We can lessen the environmental damage that plastic pollution is causing by extending the use of plastic products for as long as possible, while recovering, reusing and recycling plastics at a much higher rate.
This will not only reduce the environmental damage that plastic pollution is causing but will also open up new opportunities for decent work.”