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It swims in rivers, floats in the seas, washes up on beaches – and it ends up in the foods we eat: plastic waste is a global problem, and it is growing every day. Around eight million tonnes are released into the oceans every year. The international community has largely recognised the gravity of the situation, and it is acting collectively.
In 2019, 187 states agreed to only export plastic waste that has been sorted, cleaned and can be recycled. The measure is intended to prevent exported waste from ending up in unsecured landfills or even in the sea. The European Union has enacted a ban on the sale of single-use plastics – such as cutlery and straws – from 2021. Germany's federal government has drawn up a 5-point plan to reduce plastic waste, promoting, for example, environmentally friendly product design, the expansion of recycling as well as technologies to combat marine litter.
Internationally, Germany supports affected regions by making available technological know-how and funding, among other things – because it's a global issue that can only be addressed in a joint effort.