UN agrees to create global treaty on plastic pollution

The United Nations (UN) has approved a landmark agreement to create the world's first global plastic pollution treaty, describing it as the most significant environmental deal since the 2015 Paris climate accord.

11 Mar 2022 | By WhatPackaging? Team

“We're making history today and you should all be proud," said Espen Barth Eide, president of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA). “Plastic pollution has grown into an epidemic. With today's resolution we are officially on track for a cure."

The resolution, which UNEA calls “the most significant environmental deal since the Paris accord", is written in broad strokes and an intergovernmental committee is now tasked with negotiating a deal that will have ripple effects on businesses and economies around the world.

Any treaty that puts restrictions on plastic production, use or design would affect oil and chemicals companies that make raw plastic, as well as consumer goods giants that sell thousands of products in single-use packaging.

It would also affect the economies of major plastic-producing countries, including India, the US, China, Saudi Arabia and Japan.

Member states held talks for more than a week in Nairobi to agree to the outline of a pact to rein in soaring plastic pollution, an environmental crisis that extends from ocean trenches to mountain tops.

Government officials cheered and punched the air after the adoption of a resolution to create a legally binding plastic pollution treaty, which is due to be finalised by 2024.

Highlights of the treaty

  • The broad mandate aims to target plastic pollution in all its forms, including microplastics
  • A committee is now tasked with negotiating a deal that will affect businesses and economies globally
  • Disagreements remain over what should be included in a final pact

(Source: Agencies)