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175 countries commit to forge internationally binding treaty on plastic pollution by 2024

  • Published
    3rd Mar, 2022

Recently at fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) in Nairobi countries have agreed to end plastic pollution and formulate an internationally binding treaty by 2024.


About the resolution:

  • The resolution is based on three initial draft resolutions from various countries.
    • It establishes an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) with the ambition of completing a draft global legally binding agreement by the end of 2024.
    • The three draft resolutions of Peru, Rwanda and Japanwere based on the principle of a legally binding target.
  • In comparison, the Indian draft resolutiontitled “Framework for addressing plastic product pollution including single use plastic product pollution” was based upon the principle of immediate collective voluntary action by countries.
    • But India has agreed to the setting up of an INC for a new, international and legally binding treaty.
  • Under the legally binding agreement:
    • Countries will be expected to develop, implement and update national action plans reflecting country-driven approaches to contribute to the objectives of the instrument.
    • They will be expected to promote national action plans to work towards the prevention, reduction and elimination of plastic pollution and to support regional and international cooperation.
  • The UNEP will convene a forum by the end of 2022 that is open to all stakeholders, in conjunction with the first session of the INC, to share knowledge and best practices in different parts of the world.

Scale of Plastic problem:

  • Plastic pollution soared from two million tonnes in 1950, to 348 million tonnes in 2017, becoming a global industry valued at $522.6 billion.
    • It is expected to double in capacity, by 2040.
  • The impacts of plastic production and pollution on the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss and pollution are a catastrophe in the making.
  • By 2050, greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic production, use and disposal, would account for 15 per cent of allowed emissions, under the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C (34.7°F) in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
  • More than 800 marine and coastal species are affected by this pollution through ingestion, entanglement, and other dangers, while around 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow each year into the ocean.
    • This could triple by 2040.

India’s current status in terms of plastic waste generation:

  • 45% of plastics produced in India today are single-use.
  • Our plastic consumption is increasing. The plastic processing industry is estimated to grow to 22 million tonnes (MT) a year by 2020 from 13.4 MT in 2015 and nearly half of this is single-use plastic
  • India ranks number three in terms of plastic fibres found in a sample of tap water – 82.4 per cent of tap water sampled in India contained over four plastic fibres per 500 ml.
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