World is Negotiating Terms of ‘Global Treaty on Plastic Pollution’ to Answer Plastic Pollution Catastrophe

Plastic is everywhere and is degrading the environment at a much faster pace than expected. It is affecting humans, animals, soil, water, etc, and posing severe health hazards. Plastic waste can be found everywhere from the highest peak of Mount Everest to the deepest floor of the Pacific Ocean.

To answer this plastic pollution catastrophe, the Fourth Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) has opened discussions to develop a legally binding international treaty. The INC is being carried out in five sessions to reach a global consensus to safeguard the future of mankind, marine life, and the ecosystem around us.

Back in March 2022, a significant resolution was adopted by the UN Environment Assembly aimed at developing a legal agreement to counter plastic pollution by the end of 2024. The last two decades have seen the doubling of global plastic production which in turn develops millions of plastic waste every year. They contain around 16000 chemicals harming living beings, humans, and the biosphere.

Due to its cost-effectiveness and multidimensional usage, plastic has been used across the segments. At present, around 6 billion tonnes of plastic are polluting the Earth and bringing multifaceted impacts on the economy, health, society, and environment. Out of this, around 0.5% of plastic waste goes to the ocean.

According to the Lancet Report 2023, approximately 10% or less of plastic waste has been recycled to date. The decomposition of plastic material takes approximately 20 to 500 years. Annually, around 400 million tonnes of plastic are generated, and is expected to shoot by 62% between 2024 to 2050. To address this critical concern, observers, and negotiators from 175 countries united in Ottawa, Canada on 23 April 2024. The aim is to eliminate plastic uses that are avoidable and problematic for living beings and the environment.

The legally binding treaty will aim to develop an all-inclusive framework addressing plastic production’s complete life cycle including production, design, and disposal. Thus, the world needs sincere efforts to finalize the draft of the maiden global treaty which is expected to be adopted in South Korea in November 2024 to tackle the burgeoning plastic waste pollution globally.