Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

175 Countries Forge Resolution to End Plastic Pollution

Describing the policy historic, Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav said, India has embarked on a journey to eradicate plastic pollution in a healthy and effective way through EPR
March 3, 2022
plastic pollution

Heads of state, environment ministers and other representatives from 175 countries on Wednesday endorsed a historic resolution to end plastic pollution and forge a legally binding international agreement by the end of 2024. The decision was adopted at the United Nations Environment Assembly, held in Nairobi.

The landmark resolution addresses the entire life cycle of plastic, including its production, design and disposal. “The United Nations Environment Assembly, against the backdrop of geopolitical turmoil, showcases multilateral cooperation at its finest,” said Espen Barth Eide, Assembly President and Norwegian Minister for Climate and Environment.

“Plastic pollution has become an epidemic. With today’s resolution, we are officially on the way to a cure,” said Eide.

The resolution establishes an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee that will begin its work this year, with the aim of completing a legally binding draft agreement by the end of 2024. At the same time, it is expected to present a legally binding instrument that reflects various alternatives to address the entire life cycle of plastics, from the design of reusable and recyclable products and materials. It will also address the need to improve international collaboration to facilitate access to technology, which allows the realisation of the revolutionary plan.

India’s Stand at UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5)

India has formed an intergovernmental negotiating committee for a new legally binding international treaty, engaging constructively with all UNEA 5.2 member states to reach a consensus on a resolution to promote global action on plastic pollution.

At the urging of India, the text of the resolution incorporates the national situation and policy of power while taking action against plastic pollution so that developing countries can follow their development path.

India was in favour of not making it mandatory for the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee to develop objectives, definitions, formats and procedures at this stage, which affected the outcome of the committee discussions. It includes provisions for immediate joint voluntary action by countries to tackle plastic pollution in an immediate and sustainable manner.

Describing the adoption of 175 countries as historic, Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Bhupendra Yadav said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, India has embarked on a journey to eradicate plastic pollution in a healthy and effective way through EPR on plastic packaging and by putting a ban on single-use plastic items having low utility and high littering potential.

Earlier, India had piloted a resolution on addressing single-use plastic product pollution in the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) held in 2019, bringing global focus on the issue.

On the domestic front, the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change has put in place a ban on identified single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential. The Guidelines on Extended Producer’s Responsibility on plastic packaging have also been notified. The single-use plastic ban coupled with extended producer responsibility guidelines provides a legal framework for addressing plastic pollution.

Plastic Production Causing Problems

Plastic production has exploded from 2 million tonnes in 1950 to 460 million tonnes in 2019 generating 353 million tonnes of waste, of which less than 10% is currently recycled and 22% is abandoned in wild dumps, burned to the sky. opened or released into the environment, according to the latest OECD estimates.

The impacts of plastic production and pollution on the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity collapse and pollution threaten the world. Exposure to plastics can harm human health, potentially affecting fertility, hormonal, metabolic and neurological activity. In addition, the open burning of plastics contributes to air pollution.

By 2050, greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, use and disposal of plastics would amount to 15% of allowable emissions, as part of the goal to limit global warming. planet at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

With some 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flowing into the oceans every year, more than 800 marine and coastal species are affected by ingestion, entanglement and other hazards.