Global Plastics Treaty Aims to Cut Production by 40% by 2040

Nations have made progress in crafting a global plastics treaty, aiming to reduce primary plastic production by 40% by 2040. The treaty proposal includes a global plastic polymer reduction target and mandatory reporting by countries on plastic production, imports, and exports.

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Muhammad Jawad
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Global Plastics Treaty Aims to Cut Production by 40% by 2040

Global Plastics Treaty Aims to Cut Production by 40% by 2040

In a significant step towards combating plastic pollution, nations have made substantial progress in crafting a legally binding global plastics treaty. The fourth round of negotiations, held in Ottawa, Canada, concluded with a shared goal of reducing primary plastic production by 40% by 2040, compared to 2025 levels.

Why this matters: The success of this treaty will have a direct impact on the health of our planet and its inhabitants, as plastic pollution affects not only marine life but also human health through seafood consumption. Aglobal, first agreement to reduce plastic production will set a crucial precedent for international cooperation on environmental issues.

The negotiations, led by the U.N. Environment Program, marked a "monumental change in tone and energy" towards finding solutions, according to attendees. For the first time, nations began negotiating the text of the treaty, focusing on limiting global, end plastic production. The final agreement is expected to be sealed in Busan, South Korea, later this year.

However, the idea of limiting plastic productiontensions, rise, uscontentious, with major oil producers like the United States opposing stringent global caps. Environmental groups argue that massively reducing production is crucial to ending plastic pollution, which harms marine life and potentially impacts human health through seafood consumption.

Despite some resistance, the negotiations made progress. Canadian parliamentary secretary Julie Dabrusin expressed optimism, stating, "I'm really optimistic that we can get to an agreement by the end of the year to end plastic pollution by 2040." Greenpeace's Graham Forbes emphasized, "This treaty will succeed or fail based on the extent to which it addresses and reduces plastic production. Nothing else will work if we don't get that right."

The treaty proposal, led by Rwanda and Peru, sets out a global, continues plastic polymer reduction target, similar in structure to the Paris agreement on climate change. It includes mandatory reporting by countries on the production, imports, and exports of primary plastic polymers. The target aims to align with global objectives for a safe circular economy for plastics and goals to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The urgency of the plastics crisis is underscored by staggering statistics. Annual plastics production has more than doubled in 20 years to 460 million tons and is on track to triple within four decades if left unchecked. An estimated 11 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean annually, a figure expected to triple by 2040.

As negotiations progress, stakeholders from various sectors are making their voices heard. Waste pickers, who are on the frontlines of solving plastic pollution, want a treaty that recognizes their role and helps them transition to safer jobs. Indigenous communities are calling for their voices to be heard and for the treaty to address the disproportionate impact of plastic pollution on their communities.

The global plastics treaty represents a critical opportunity to address the accelerating plastic pollution crisis. With negotiations set to conclude in South Korea later this year and a final agreement expected to be adopted next year at a diplomatic conference, the world is watching closely. As Tiwonge Mzumara-Gawa, an environmental campaigner from Malawi, stated, "A global agreement is necessary to address plastic pollution." The success of this treaty will have far-reaching implications for the health of our planet and its inhabitants.

Key Takeaways

  • Nations aim to reduce primary plastic production by 40% by 2040.
  • Global plastics treaty negotiations made significant progress in Ottawa, Canada.
  • Major oil producers like the US oppose stringent global caps on plastic production.
  • Treaty proposal sets a global plastic polymer reduction target, similar to the Paris climate agreement.
  • Annual plastic production has doubled in 20 years, reaching 460 million tons.