Global Plastics Treaty: Need of the Hour

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    In News

    • A report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) highlighted that a new global plastics treaty that takes into account the entire lifecycle of plastics needs to be developed urgently.

    Key Points

    • The report puts together recent scientific data on the impacts of plastics on climate, biodiversity, human health and environment. 
    • It was released ahead of the second part of UNEA 5 in Nairobi, Kenya. 
    • Addressing the problem of plastic pollution must begin when plastic is produced as a material. 
    • This was also proposed in the draft resolution by Peru and Rwanda at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).
    • The fifth session of the UNEA is taking place in two parts. 
      • UNEA 5.1 was held online from February 22-23, 2021. 
      • The substantive matters that required in-depth negotiations were deferred to UNEA 5.2 scheduled to be held from February 28-March 2, 2022. 
      • Implementation of resolutions on marine litter and microplastics is likely to be discussed at the meeting.  
    • Over 70 consumer brands including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever and Ikea, who contribute significantly to global plastic pollution, issued a joint statement January 17, 2022 calling for a global treaty to fight plastic pollution that would include reducing the production of the material.

                                                                                     

     

    Image Courtesy: EIA 

     

    Suggestions

    • Prioritise policies that address multiple threats acting at different timescales:
      • This must include measures to urgently eliminate the discharge of plastics into the environment, phase plastic production down to sustainable levels in alignment with the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 as well as promote the upscaling of reuse, refill and traditional packaging systems tailored to national contexts.
    • Peru and Rwanda resolution: 
      • UNEA member states need to support the convening of an intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop a new global plastics treaty at the upcoming chapter of UNEA 5.
    • Meeting nationally determined contributions:
      • Parties need to work toward reducing the climate impact from extraction, processing, cracking and polymerisation through targeted measures in their NDCs under the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from those activities, in tandem with the rapid phase-out of fossil fuels in the energy sector.
    • Global Biodiversity Framework:
      • Member states must ensure that the proposed target to eliminate plastic waste discharges by 2030 is upheld and harmonised with the objectives of a new global plastics treaty, with ambitious actions and implementation genuinely capable of securing zero discharges.

     

    Image Courtesy: EIA 

    Conclusion

    • The rise in plastic pollution spilling into the environment is a planetary emergency which needs to be dealt with before it’s too late.

    Source: DTE