Tuesday, 25 June 2024
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CanadaNatural Disaster

Critical milestone reached in Canada’s negotiations against plastic pollution

  • Thousands of negotiators around the world are assembling in Ottawa to draft a convention to end plastic pollution.
  • People are reportedly breathing, eating, and drinking small plastic particles more frequently.
  • IPEN is calling for a convention that will stop the rapid expansion of plastic manufacturing.

Thousands of observers and negotiators from most countries in the world are assembling in Ottawa to draft a convention to end plastic pollution, which results in the daily discharge of 2,000 garbage trucks’ worth of plastic debris into the world’s rivers, lakes, and oceans.

People are reportedly breathing, eating, and drinking small plastic particles more frequently, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

Plastic Pollution

The current treaty draft needs to be simplified, and the parties involved need to decide on its scope—whether it should prioritize protecting human health and the environment, restricting plastic production, banning certain chemicals used in plastics, or any combination of these. This is what the so-called “high ambition coalition” of nations desires to see.

By the end of 2024, the United Nations Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastics plans to draft the first legally binding agreement on plastic pollution, which includes marine contamination.

Given the severity of the issue, the negotiators have been given a very limited deadline. The main obstacle to the negotiations will be the opposition of the major oil and gas-producing nations to any convention that would restrict their capacity to extract and export fossil fuels for the production of plastic.

IPEN is calling for a convention that will stop the rapid expansion of plastic manufacturing and impose worldwide regulations on dangerous compounds found in plastics. Leading a congressional delegation to Ottawa, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon is pushing for a robust deal.

Up till now, the U.S. government has maintained that voluntary measures taken by other countries to reduce plastic pollution are the best way to bring about change. ExxonMobil is producing more plastic, but it must keep the manufacturing of plastic apart from the requirement to handle plastic waste and enhance circularity.

McKee was supported by Chris Jahn, president and CEO of the trade group for the industry, the American Chemistry Council. Without reducing the advantages of plastic, the goal should be to eradicate plastic pollution. Alexis Jackson, who will head a team from The Nature Conservancy in Ottawa, stated that there is still enough time to move forward with an ambitious deal.

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