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3rd March 2022 (9 Topics)

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

Context

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

About the resolution:

  • The resolution depends on three draft resolutions from different nations.
    • 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 Japan were based on the principle of a legally binding target.
  • In comparison, the Indian draft resolution titled “Framework for addressing plastic product pollution including single-use plastic product pollution” was based upon the principle of immediate collective voluntary action by countries.
    • However, 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 asked to establish, execute, and update national action plans that reflect country-specific methods in order to contribute to the instrument's objectives.
    • They will be required to promote national action plans aimed at preventing, reducing, and eliminating plastic pollution, as well as to facilitate regional and international collaboration.
  • By the end of 2022, the UNEP will organize a forum accessible to all stakeholders in conjunction with the INC's inaugural session to share expertise and best practices from across the globe.

Scale of Plastic problem:

  • Plastic pollution increased from two million tonnes in 1950 to 348 million tonnes in 2017, creating a global business worth $522.6 billion.
    • It is projected to increase its capacity by 2040.
  • The effects of plastic manufacture and pollution on the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution are a disaster waiting to happen.
  • By 2050, greenhouse gas emissions linked with plastic manufacture, use, and disposal would account for 15% of allowable emissions, with the objective of reducing global warming to 1.5°C (34.7°F) under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • Over 800 marine and coastal species are harmed by this pollution due to ingestion, entanglement, and other hazards, while over 11 million tons of plastic debris enter the ocean each year.
    • 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 usage is growing. The plastic processing industry is expected to rise to 22 million tonnes (MT) per year by 2020, from 13.4 MT in 2015, with over half of this being single-use plastic.
  • India is ranked third in terms of plastic fibers discovered in tap water, with 82.4% of tap water samples containing more than four plastic fibers per 500 ml.

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