In 2019 alone, factories around the world produced about 460 million tons of plastic. According to the OECD, 353 million tons of this ended up in landfill. Although plastic recycling is officially very popular, it is currently not possible to recycle more than 10 percent of the plastic produced worldwide. About 22 percent do not even end up in an orderly manner in landfills, but in the wild in the environment. This goes on year after year and despite all measures, the problem is getting worse rather than smaller. A UN agreement should now help to put the brakes on.
A legally binding treaty should be finalized by the end of 2024
At the 5th UN Environment Meeting (UNEA 5.2), negotiators from a total of 193 countries agreed to conclude a binding plastics agreement. The conference took place in Nairobi and the drafting of the legally binding treaty will begin in the second half of 2022. All UN member states can participate and the document should be ready by the end of 2024.
The entire life cycle of plastic must be regulated
The deal covers the entire plastic lifecycle, so it’s not just about disposal. Production is just as important as use and possible reuse. In this way, the negotiators can set maximum limits in all these areas and take further measures against plastic waste in water and on land. The treaty also includes state control measures and aid offers for less financially strong countries. The first round of negotiations on the detailed design will take place in Geneva.
The meeting participants emphasized the legally binding nature of the agreement. This is the only way to master success.