UN Treaty May Help End Plastic Pollution

Delegates from over 150 countries sat down this past December to discuss plastic pollution and various ways to end it. This discussion is one of five scheduled to be held in the hopes that a formal international treaty can be made to end plastic pollution.

As one might imagine with so many different voices sharing their view on plastics, there’s a lot of disagreement on how to go about fixing the issue. The good news is, everyone from plastic producing companies themselves to every single country involved agrees plastic pollution is a problem. What no one can agree on is which solution is best for solving it.

High Ambition Countries Vs. Low Ambition Countries

The broadest split in views involve how ambitious these plastic treaties should be. High ambition countries like those in the European union and Rwanda want a drastic cut in plastic and an end to all plastic pollution by 2024.

Other countries, mainly those who produce most of the plastic such as the USA and Saudia Arabia, want to do their own thing and set individualized goals. While this could work and adds room for flexibility in the approach, it also often shows disappointing results. Just look at how we’re doing with the Climate Paris Agreement.

Progress is still Progress

This is just the first meeting of many for good reason. Although no one can quite agree what to do about the problem, they at least agree that there is one. We can hope that future meetings will lead to more concrete discussions on what can be done.

One final takeaway from this meeting worth noting is that there seems to be a conversation shift about plastics. It’s no longer seen as merely a problem for marine health, but a chemical problem. It will be interesting to see where this new treaty take us.

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