UN sets its sights on plastic pollution, vowing to adopt agreement by 2024


The Dandora waste dump in Kenya covers more than 30 acres and is one of Africa’s largest unregulated landfills.

the fifth United Nations (UN) Environment Assembly concluded with a bit of good news: 14 resolutions were adopted that align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, one of which commits to putting an end to plastic pollution. The “end plastic pollution” resolution that was unanimously approved by 175 member nations lays the groundwork for a treaty “that addresses the full lifecycle of plastic from source to sea,” according to a fact sheet. There is much to consider when reducing and eliminating plastic waste, including plastic reusability, addressing microplastics that have wreaked havoc on ecosystems, and finding a way to sustainably produce and consume plastic goods. The agreement, which now must be created, will be adopted by 2024.

UN Environmental Program (UNEP) Executive Director Inger Andersen pointed to just how invested so many countries are in combatting rampant plastic pollution. “Since September 2021, according to the WWF Global Plastic Navigator, 154 countries have expressed an interest in negotiating a new global agreement on marine plastic pollution,” Andersen said. “Even as we continue to flesh out a global agreement, it is clear that we cannot put the brakes on action to address plastic pollution. This is such a big challenge, we need to come at it, through different tracks, all converging on the same road – towards altering our relationship with plastics, therefore benefitting the natural world, in particular, our oceans and water bodies, and human health .”

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