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Global problems – global solutions

Nachrichten aus der Chemie, Februar 2024, S. 20-22, DOI, PDF. Login für Volltextzugriff.

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Chemistry and the chemicals in products have transformed our societies for the better, giving us better health and living conditions. However, these benefits have not been delivered without significant costs to the environment. In 2022, the UN Environment Agency agreed to set up a Science-Policy Panel (SPP) for Chemicals, Waste and the Prevention of Pollution.

Concern for the impact of chemicals on the environment is not new. The uncontrolled release of gaseous wastes from the production of soda ash by the Lebanc process led to the world’s first environmental pollution legislation, the UK Towns Improvements Clauses Act of 1847. After unsuccessful attempts to control these releases with end-of-pipe solutions, the Lebanc process was replaced with the Solvay process, which was both more environmentally and economically sustainable and is still in use today.
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The approach for the next hundred years was based on the premise that chemic

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