A global "plastic cap" is expected by the end of 2024

  • 2022-11-30
From November 28 to December 2 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, representatives from governments, the private sector and civil society will begin work on a legally binding international instrument to end plastic pollution, including in the Marine environment, which they hope to complete by 2024.

Nine months ago, in March 2022, the resumed Fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly adopted the Draft Resolution to End Plastic Pollution (Draft), a legally binding resolution aimed at advancing the global fight against plastic pollution. Countries entrusted the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to convene and manage the INC (first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee) process.

The mission of the INC-1 negotiators is to develop legally binding treaty-related measures and obligations. Possible measures include the extension of producer responsibility legislation; Subsidies, taxes and duties; And bans or restrictions on specific substances, polymers or products.

The INC Secretariat has prepared an analysis of issues in four main areas required for the transition to a circular economy: eliminating and replacing unnecessary plastics and harmful additives, designing reusable and recycled plastic products, ensuring product reuse and recycling, and managing plastic pollution in an environmentally responsible manner.



The resolution comes amid a growing plastic crisis that experts say threatens the environment, human health and the economy. Studies show that humans produce about 460 million tons of plastic each year, a figure that will triple by 2060 unless urgent action is taken. According to a UNEP study, more than 14 million tonnes of plastic enter and damage aquatic ecosystems each year, and plastics-related greenhouse gas emissions are expected to account for 15% of total allowable emissions by 2050 if humanity is to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Experts say recycling alone will not end plastic pollution, and humans need to reduce plastic consumption and production. This brings us to the so-called lifecycle approach. In addition to managing plastic waste and promoting reuse, it also studies how products are designed, produced and distributed, and tries to reduce the amount of plastic used along the way.



"We are not recycling or barring us from getting out of the plastic pollution crisis," said Sheila Aggarwal Khan, director of UNEP's Economics Division. Waste collection and recycling are extremely important, but they must be part of an integrated approach."

According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme, the life-cycle approach could reduce the amount of plastic entering the oceans by more than 80 percent, saving governments $70 billion by 2040. It could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent and create 700,000 jobs.

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