Now the work begins
- 175 countries unanimously agreed last week on a United Nations framework to fight global plastic pollution from cradle to grave. Reluctant nations, including India and Japan, sought a far more limited agreement only dealing with ocean plastic pollution. But they acquiesced in the end.
- A committee will shortly begin work on drafting the treaty, determining global rules, and financing and enforcement mechanisms, with a goal of finishing by the end of 2024.
- While many crucial details remain to be worked out over the next two years, the UN resolution calls for a combination of required and “voluntary actions” to address the cradle to grave plastics crisis. The document even addresses the extraction of chemicals used in production, meaning the final treaty could seriously impact the oil industry.
- Also, wealthier nations may be called on to provide assistance to less developed ones. Environmental groups are pleased with the agreement, though caution that much work lies ahead. The plastics industry had hoped for a far more limited agreement and it is expected to offer input on the final shape of the treaty.
Last week the world agreed to move forward on a landmark international agreement to control plastic pollution. Now the real work begins on vigorously turning that consensus into reality.