Nations discuss first-ever global plastic agreement

Animal News : Nations discuss first-ever global plastic agreement

Countries are trying to come to a first-ever global agreement to contain plastic pollution. Officials are preparing for tough negotiations this week over whether to limit plastic production or to focus on waste management.

The third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) to develop an international legally binding pact on plastic pollution takes place in Kenya. From November 13 to 19, national delegates will discuss at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi.

By the end of 2024, countries will present a legally binding treaty with solution for plastic pollution.

The world is producing about 400 million metric tons (to compare: the weight of all cars in the United States) of plastic waste yearly. Less than 10% of this plastic waste is being recycled, according to the UNEP, which is choking landfills and polluting oceans. That produced amount will increase in the coming decade.

Around 98% of single-use plastic, like bottles or packaging, comes from fossil fuel, according to the UNEP.

Reduce or recycle plastic

The European Union, Japan, Canada and Kenya have called for binding rules to reduce the production of plastics that come from petrochemicals and eliminate problematic plastics, such as PVC.

The plastic industry and oil and petrochemical exporters like Saudi Arabia oppose plastic reduction. They argue that the pact should focus on recycling and reusing plastics. Saudi Arabia said the root cause of plastic pollution was “inefficient management of waste.”

Environmental groups want countries to focus on the agreement’s content and not have procedural discussions slow down the progress.

“We need a radical rethink of the global plastics economy and cannot get bogged down by derailing tactics and false solutions,” Christina Dixon of the Environmental Investigation Agency said.

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