IPEN International Pollutants Elimination Network

UN plastics treaty inches closer to reality

Negotiators wrapped up the fourth round of formal discussions over the United Nations’ global plastics treaty early on Tuesday morning, inching closer to a final agreement that’s intended to “end plastic pollution.”

Delegates made important progress on the treaty, the final version of which is due by the end of the year. They pared down a lengthy draft of the text and agreed on a formal agenda for “intersessional” work ahead of the next — and final — meeting, in Busan, South Korea, scheduled for November 25. That work will involve critical issues around funding the treaty’s provisions and identifying plastic-related chemicals that should be restricted.

Bjorn Beeler, the general manager and international coordinator for the nonprofit International Pollutants Elimination Network, said it was “very significant” that the delegates were able to move from a 70-page “zero draft” of the treaty — a laundry list of options meant to represent everybody’s viewpoints — to a more formal version that’s been vetted by negotiators.

All of the most ambitious provisions of the treaty are still in the newly updated draft, Beeler said, meaning they’re still up for discussion. He also noted growing support for health-related aspects of the treaty, particularly a provision to limit potentially dangerous chemicals that are commonly added to plastics.

“Everyone knows there are hazardous chemicals in plastics,” Beeler said. Griffins Ochieng, the executive director of the Kenya-based Center for Environmental Justice and Development, said in a statement that a global plastics treaty that addresses chemicals in plastics “is an impetus toward eradicating plastic pollution.”

See the full story from Grist.