UN assembly secures declaration from the world’s environment officials that they will clamp down on hazardous chemicals and end pollution

The world’s environment ministers have promised to promote policies that address hazardous chemicals, including sustainable chemistry, during the last day of the third United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. They issued a declaration to help achieve ‘a pollution-free planet’ by working with political, industrial, scientific and civil society leaders.

‘We believe that it is both inexcusable and preventable that tens of thousands of chemicals are used in everyday objects and applied in the field without proper testing, labelling or tracking,’ the declaration states. ‘Far too many communities either lack information about the chemicals and hazardous substances they use or are exposed to, or the capacity to manage them safely.’ The environmental officials go on to suggest that it is currently impossible to measure the human impact of all of these compounds.

Nevertheless, the declaration states that the knowledge and technological solutions to reduce pollution already exist, noting that there have been numerous success stories of countries, cities and businesses addressing air, soil, freshwater and marine pollution. The ministers cite recent successes such as efforts to phase-out hydrofluorocarbon production and cut mercury emissions.

In their new declaration, the environmental ministers express their determination to scale up actions to prevent, mitigate and manage pollution. They also vow to encourage the development, collation and use of reliable scientific data.