In March 2022, when in Nairobi 175 countries signed the UN resolution to tackle plastic pollution on an international scalethus paving the way for a two-year negotiation process, the Unep executive director, Inger Andersenhe said: “This is themost significant multilateral environmental agreement since Paris in 2015». On the eve of second phase of the negotiations, which will open on May 29 in Parishowever, the goal of creating a legally binding treaty, which considers the entire plastic cycle, from production to packaging, products and business models, seems far away, precisely, like that of keeping temperatures below 1 .5 degrees Celsius.
The first negotiating session in Uruguay last December was attended - as will happen in Paris - by delegates from over 150 countries, representatives of the plastics industry, environmentalists, scientists, waste collectors, tribal representatives and the populations most directly affected by the pollution. Some countries have lobbied for equal mandates for all, others for national solutions and be it reaffirmed the political goal of ending plastic pollution by 2040. Now, ahead of the second session, 52 countries, including the EU, have gathered in the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution (HAC EPP), once again to aim for the most ambitious outcome possible and underline the need for a text including binding measures. The coalition supports the inclusion in the future treaty of obligations and control measures on the entire life cycle of plastics, to limit the consumption and production of plastics to sustainable levels, promote a circular economy that protects the environment and health and ultimately ensure effective collection, management and recycling of plastic waste.
How to reduce plastic use by 80% by 2040
As we now witness every United Nations Conference on Climate Change, the differences concern above all the times within which the measures will become binding, how to support the countries of the South in the world to achieve the objectives and how to apply the "polluter pays" principle.
Against the background of the treaties, then, one consideration weighs: global plastic production is steadily increasing, estimated at 390.7 million tons in 2021, with an annual increase of 4% and is expected to triple by 2060. Nor can we count on its recycling: today, 81% of products made of plastic end up in waste within a year, of this waste, only 9% is recycled worldwide, 20% is incinerated, almost half ends up in landfills and more than 20% is abandoned in nature. The damage mainly concerns the oceans, where 15 tons of plastic are released every minute and its debris constitutes 85% of the polluting materials present in the sea.