Plastic treaty talks grapple with re-use vs recycling
Bangkok Post Public Company Limited
NAIROBI: 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 governments, participants said on Sunday. Negotiators, who spent a week meeting in the Kenyan capital at talks known as INC3, have until the end of next year to strike a deal for the control of plastics, which produce an estimated 400 million tonnes of waste every year. The plastics industry, oil and petrochemical exporters, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, have said a global deal should promote recycling and re-use of plastic, but environmental campaigners and some governments say much less needs to be produced in the first place. Environmental group Greenpeace said a successful deal would require the United States and the European Union to show greater leadership than they have so far. “The hard truth is that INC3 has failed to deliver on its core objective: delivering a mandate to prepare a first draft of a treaty text,” Graham Forbes, head of delegation for Greenpeace, said. “This is not progress. This is chaos,” he said referring to the number of submissions. Two more rounds of talks will take place next year to try to finalise the deal. A proposal to hold an extra session before the next round in Canada, known as intersessional talks, failed to advance in the final plenary meeting, participants said. Bethanie Carney Almroth, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, who was involved in the talks, said the world was confronting a huge challenge. “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.