Global Plastic Treaty to End Plastic Pollution

“Today marks a triumph by planet earth over single-use plastics. This is the most significant environmental multilateral deal since the Paris accord. It is an insurance policy for this generation and future ones, so they may live with plastic and not be doomed by it.”
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

This is the best news we have heard in a very long time! At the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi in early March 2022, representatives from 175 countries agreed on a mandate to develop a framework for reducing plastic waste across the world.

“Today, the gavel came down on a historic resolution at the resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) in Nairobi to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024. Heads of State, Ministers of environment and other representatives from UN Member States endorsed this landmark agreement that addresses the full lifecycle of plastic from source to sea. Plastic production has risen exponentially in the last decades and now amount.” Source

The WWF described the move as one of the world’s most ambitious environmental actions since the 1989 Montreal Protocol, which phased out ozone-depleting substances. The United Nations Environment Assembly is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment and meets biennially to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law.  

A senior attorney from CIEL reported from the assembly: “The historic nature of the mandate cannot be understated. Six years ago, a legally-binding treaty that addresses the full life cycle of plastics seemed impossible and today’s announcement is the result of multiple movements coming together to understand and address an emergency.”

World leaders have until 2024 to agree the plastic pollution treaty, including which elements will be legally binding and how the deal will be financed. Environmental groups are calling for clear and strong global standards that incentivise nations to stick to common rules and regulations over plastics, while penalising harmful products and practices, a BBC article explains.