IPEN International Pollutants Elimination Network

U.N. plastic treaty talks grapple with re-use, recycle, reduce debate

A third round of United Nations negotiations to try to deliver the world’s first treaty to control plastic pollution has drawn more than 500 proposals from those involved, participants said on the last day of the talks on Sunday.

Bethanie Carney Almroth, an eco-toxicologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, who was involved in the talks, said delegates were considering an extra session to analyze the scale of the problem.

“Plastics are connected to climate change, to biodiversity loss and other major threats and crises that we as the human population are facing on the planet,” she said.

One of the most popular proposals was from Switzerland and Uruguay to hold more discussions on curbing harmful polymers and chemicals of concern which had the backing of more than 100 states.

But some participants were disappointed by what they called the lack of a clear path towards an effective deal.

“Major fossil fuel producers and exporters stalled efforts to move forward in an efficient manner,” said Tadesse Amera, co-chair of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), a global network of non-governmental organisations.

Less than 10% of plastic waste is recycled, the U.N. Environment Programme says, while at least 14 million tonnes end up in oceans every year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature says.

Canada, Kenya, and the European Union are among those who said plastic production needs to be limited, while a coalition of Russia, Saudi Arabia and others has sought to emphasise recycling.

Read the full story from Reuters.