Delhi-based think-tank Centre for Science and Environment had released a report November 22 in the run-up to the Uruguay meeting
Plastic pollution is a threat to human health and the environment, with scientific reports having proved that plastic is embedded throughout the food chain. The first round of negotiations on a global treaty to end plastic pollution started in Uruguay’s Punta Del Este November 28, 2022.
Stakeholders from civil society, workers engaged in recycling, the private sector, government and academia from across the globe have come together to participate in the five-day event which will conclude December 2.
The meeting in Uruguay comes nearly 10 months after the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) adopted resolution 5/14 titled “End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument (ILBI)”.
The meeting also commissioned the creation of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC), comprising the UNEA member governments to develop the agreement on plastic pollution.
The INC mandate stated that the drafted instrument should be legally binding for all countries signing and ratifying the agreement, consider the full life cycle of plastic, consider financial and technical support for countries requesting such support, and recognise the importance of waste pickers involved in collecting, sorting and recycling.
The current mandate does not clearly acknowledge and indicate the impact of plastics production and disposal on climate change. It also does not talk about the unknown chemicals that are used in the production of plastics.
Currently, more than 10,000 chemicals (additives) are used to manufacture plastics with close to one-fourth of the chemicals being proven to have adverse effects on human health. On an average, every plastic product had close to 20 additives.
The Uruguay talks are the first round of negotiations by the INC (INC-1). Here, delegates are set to consider, among others:
A multi-stakeholder forum was convened just prior to INC-1 November 26 in Punta del Este, to encourage the broad exchange of information and activities related to plastic pollution.
Delhi-based think-tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) released a report titled The Plastic Life-cycle November 22 at India Habitat Centre in the national capital. The report was released by the Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change.
The India-specific report stated that plastic is not just a waste management problem, as is commonly believed. Instead, it is a material production problem.
Unless the entire life cycle of plastic — from source to disposal — is not together considered as the root cause of the pollution it causes, the problem is not going away.
The report also revealed some shocking statistics on the plastic situation in India:
The report also found that most of the plastic waste entering the formal collection systems in the cities of India was sourced through the informal sector workers.
CSE researchers were informed that a lot of the plastic waste collected by the informal sector workers is not recyclable and has to be channelised for incineration, after storing for months.
This low-value plastic waste takes up the limited storage space that the informal workers rely on, thus directly affecting their income by eating up the storage capacity for recyclables that can fetch them a higher value.
Harshad Barde, Director SWaCH, Pune during the launch of the report said: “Waste pickers do not need plastics, they need livelihoods and job security, let’s not use waste pickers to demand more plastics in our waste stream and our cities.”
This is the fifth of a seven-part series based on a CSE report released November 22, 2022 at India Habitat Centre
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