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UN treaty on plastic 2023 (INC)

The ongoing Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Plastic Pollution is currently taking place, and you can find more information about the event on this link.

A significant point of contention revolves around whether the agreement should primarily focus on addressing the existing problem of plastic waste polluting the world's oceans or if it should go beyond that by limiting the production of potentially harmful components in plastic products or even implementing bans on plastic usage. According to individuals monitoring the negotiations, the United States, being one of the largest producers and consumers of plastic, currently favors the first option.

Louise Edge, Global Plastics Campaigner for Greenpeace UK said: “The Global Plastics Treaty is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to solve the plastics crisis. Whether it succeeds or fails depends on whether governments are bold enough to ensure that the treaty delivers what the science says is needed – a cap and phase down of plastic production.

“This essential measure will be fiercely resisted by the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries that profit from plastic. With this letter we are urging the UN to listen to the millions of people around the world who want an end to plastic pollution, rather than the interests of the oil and gas lobby.”

Jacha Potgieter with a plastic art Bluefin Tuna
Jacha Potgieter with a plastic art Bluefin Tuna

It is important to note that recycling alone cannot effectively solve the plastic pollution issue if plastic production remains uncurtailed. Recycling relies on collecting, processing, and reusing plastic materials, but if the production of new plastic continues unabated, the overall amount of plastic waste will continue to grow, overwhelming recycling efforts.

Petrochemical companies, which are responsible for the production of plastic, are likely to oppose any measures aimed at reducing plastic production. This opposition stems from the fact that reducing plastic production would directly impact their profitability and economic interests.


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