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Plastic pollution: a legally binding text planned by 2024

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The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), the highest international body on these issues, meeting in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, adopted a motion creating a intergovernmental negotiating committee responsible for drafting a text legally binding by 2024.

I see no objections, it is so decidedsaid Norwegian Environment Minister Espen Barth Eide, President of the Assembly, marking the adoption of a hammer blow… made of recycled plastic.

Today we are writing history. you can be proudhe launched to the applause of the standing delegates.

Delegates embrace.

Delegates celebrate a unanimous vote during the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) held in Nairobi, Kenya on Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

Photo: AP/Brian Inganga

The hundreds of millions of tons of waste produced each year, which degrades into microplastics, are found in all the oceans of the globe, in sea ice, in the stomachs of animals and even in air taken from the tops of mountains. .

A legally binding text

To respond to the scope of the problem, the negotiating mandate is very broad, taking into account the entire life cycle of plasticas demanded by environmental activists.

It may thus relate to production as well as use, waste management, reuse or recycling.

It covers land and sea pollution caused by these products made from fossil and responsible hydrocarbons, according to theOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Developmentnearly 3.5% of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

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It will be able to set objectives and define measures binding Where volunteers and provide national control plans, while taking into account the circumstances specific to different countries.

The mandate includes developing monitoring mechanisms and financing for poor countries and cooperating with the private sector in an industry worth billions.

The message is that we will eliminate plastic pollution from our environment. »

A quote from Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

However, Ms Andersen acknowledged that the negotiations, which are due to start in the second half of 2022 with the aim of concluding at the end of 2024, would come up against thorny topicssuch as the definition of objectives, the verification of compliance with them or the speed of implementation new rules.

Defenders of the environment welcomed each other, while displaying their vigilance on the progress of the negotiations.

A “historic” treatise

We are at a turning point in history, where ambitious decisions made today can prevent plastic pollution from contributing to the collapse of our planet’s ecosystems.commented Marco Lambertini, director general of the WWF, while insisting on the fact that the job is far from done.

Graham Forbes, Plastics Manager at Greenpeace USA, hailed a big step forward who recognizes that the entire life cycle of plastic […] cause of pollution. However, the NGO also promises not to release the pressure until a treaty is concluded and signed.

The commitment displayed by multinationals – some of which are major users of packaging, such as Coca-Cola or Unilever – for a treaty setting common rules reinforces optimism, even if they have not decided on specific measures.

The association of European producers Plastics Europe has thus welcomed a major step towards creating a zero-waste future.

Some 460 million tons of plastics were produced in 2019 worldwide, generating 353 million tons of waste, of which less than 10% is currently recycled and 22% is abandoned in uncontrolled landfills, burned in the open air or dumped in the environment, according toOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Pollution that contributes to the collapse of biodiversity, yet essential to fight against the climate crisis, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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