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175 countries sign historic global treaty to end plastic pollution

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UNEA-5.2 meeting adopted the historic resolution titled "End Plastic Pollution: Towards an internationally legally binding instrument". (Photo: Canva)

Fri. 18 March 2022

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Every year, more than 400 million tonnes of plastic are manufactured around the globe. Over 300 million tonnes of plastic end up in landfills, with 11 million tonnes ending up in the oceans.

Plastic pollution is clearly a catastrophe that, if left unaddressed, will have a negative impact on all life on this planet. Before it becomes irreversibly difficult to fight back, this problem must be dealt with on a global scale.

On March 2, 2022, representatives from 175 countries took a step in the right direction by signing a treaty to end plastic pollution.

The resolution includes the entire lifecycle of plastic, including its manufacture, design, and disposal. It is expected to develop over the next two years by 2024. This agreement is a historic milestone in climate action since the Paris Agreement, as it entails multilateral cooperation among many countries to combat a problem that will become a threat if not addressed globally.

As per the resolution, an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) will complete a global legally binding agreement by the end of 2024. By the end of 2022, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) will host a symposium, open to all stakeholders to review best practices in tackling plastic pollution.

After the INC's work is completed, UNEP will convene a diplomatic conference to adopt the agreement and open it for signatures.

“In parallel to negotiations over an international binding agreement, UNEP will work with any willing government and business across the value chain to shift away from single-use plastics, as well as to mobilise private finance and remove barriers to investments in research and in a new circular economy," said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

The historic resolution titled "End Plastic Pollution: Towards an internationally legally binding instrument" was adopted in conclusion to the three-day UNEA-5.2 meeting.

More than 3,400 in-person and 1,500 online participants from 175 UN Member States, including 79 ministers and 17 high-level officials, attended the meeting.

References:
1. Historic day in the campaign to beat plastic pollution. Read full story
2. Nations sign up to end global scourge of plastic pollution. Read full story
3. UN Environment Assembly to Develop Legally Binding. Read full story
4. World Customs Organization. Read full story

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