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Delegates working to end global plastic pollution agree to draft a treaty



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Paris – Global negotiators have agreed to draft a treaty to end plastic pollution, an initial but crucial step toward tackling one of the most enduring sources of human waste.

Environmentalists have cautiously welcomed the results of five days of UN talks in Paris on plastic pollution, but have expressed concern that the oil industry and some governments will dilute the final treaty. Most plastic is made from fossil fuels.

Participants said delegates to the Plastics Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee agreed Friday evening to prepare a rough draft before their next meeting in Kenya in November. The committee is tasked with developing the first legally binding international treaty on plastic pollution on land and at sea.


A coalition of “highly ambitious” governments led by Norway and Rwanda, along with environmentAll groups want to completely end plastic pollution by 2040 by reducing production and limiting some of the chemicals used to make plastics.

“Forecasts are that a child born today will see plastic production double by the time they turn 18, but we know that the consequences of increased plastic production will be disastrous for our health, planet and climate,” said Dr. Tadesse Amira. , who headed the delegation of the International Pollutant Elimination Network to the talks. “The stakes are high, but we are encouraged by the growing awareness among delegates of the need for global controls.”

Countries with large petroleum industries such as the United States, China and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia They focus instead on plastic recycling, and they want country-by-country rules rather than blanket borders.

Allowing each government to “use the appropriate tools based on their unique circumstances,” Stew Harris, senior director for global plastics policy at the American Chemistry Council, has argued. In a statement to the Associated Press as the talks concluded, he said circularity — or the reuse of plastic — was “at the forefront of negotiations as a way to tackle pollution and be more sustainable in the production and consumption of plastic. We agree that this is the best path.”

Humanity produces more than 430 million tons of plastic annually, two-thirds of which are short-lived products that soon become waste, fill the oceans, and often make their way to humans. food series, the United Nations Environment Program said in an April report. Plastic waste produced globally is set to nearly triple by 2060, with about half ending up in landfill and less than a fifth being recycled, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.


More than 2,000 participants from nearly 200 countries, including governments and observers, took part in the talks this week. Waste collectors and some advocacy groups said they were initially barred from attending the talks. Then, discussions about procedural rules — including whether decisions would require consensus or only two-thirds approval — delayed proceedings, participants said.

But they eventually agreed to release a draft treaty by November, which keeps things on track to produce a final version by a target deadline of late 2024. This week’s talks were the second of five rounds of meetings scheduled to complete the negotiations.

“Time is running out, and it is clear from this week’s negotiations that oil-producing countries and the fossil fuel industry will do everything they can to weaken the treaty and delay the process,” said Graham Forbes of Greenpeace USA. “While some substantive discussions have taken place, there is still an enormous amount of work ahead.”


McDermott reported from Providence, Rhode Island.



The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. Learn more about the AP’s climate initiative here. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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