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Historic UN Resolution To End Plastic Pollution Adopted By 175 Nations

Historic UN Resolution To End Plastic Pollution Adopted By 175 Nations

The United Nations is set to approve plans for a landmark treaty to tackle plastic waste after 175 countries agreed to a new resolution.

The United Nations is set to approve plans for a landmark treaty to tackle plastic waste, in a move heralded as the 'most significant environment deal' since the Paris climate agreement.

Representatives from almost 200 countries gathered in Nairobi, Kenya to participate in a UN environmental assembly, where it was agreed that over the next two years a treaty would be drawn up to commit nations around the world to fight the 'scourge' of plastic pollution.

Plastic pollution in the Pacific (Alamy)
Plastic pollution in the Pacific (Alamy)

According to CNBC the resolution will aim to target the 'full lifecycle' of plastic, from production and design to use and disposal, while also focusing on ways to prevent plastic ending up in the world's oceans, seas and rivers, which receive eight million tonnes of plastic waste each year, per the BBC.

UN Environment Programme director Inger Andersen declared the decision to produce a treaty framework by 2024 as 'a triumph by planet earth over single-use plastics.'

'This is the most significant environmental multilateral deal since the Paris accord. It is an insurance policy for this generation and future ones, so they may live with plastic and not be doomed by it,' she said.

The resolution to establish a treaty, titled 'End Plastic Pollution: Towards an internationally legally binding instrument,' was agreed upon by 175 countries at the end of a five-day assembly meeting, and was co-proposed by Peru and Rwanda.

'We appreciate the support received from the various countries during this negotiation process,' said Modesto Montoya, Peru’s environment minister. 'Peru will promote a new agreement that prevents and reduces plastic pollution, promotes a circular economy and addresses the full life cycle of plastics.'

Plastic pollution (Alamy)
Plastic pollution (Alamy)

'The world has come together [to] act against plastic pollution – a serious threat to our planet,' echoed Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda’s environment minister.

According to the UN, plastic pollution across the Earth reached a whopping 348 million metric tons in 2017, up from two million metric tons in 1950. Industry surrounding plastic pollution is currently valued $522 billion, and is expected to double in capacity by 2040.

The most common type of plastic pollution comes from 'single-use plastics' like bottles and bags, which are produced almost exclusively from fossil fuels. Incredibly, a 2021 study found that half of single-use plastic pollution is produced by just 20 companies, with ExxonMobil the worst culprit, contributing nearly six million metric tons of plastic waste.

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Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: World News, Climate Change