EU urges agreement on international regulations to end plastic pollution
From 29th May to 2nd June the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Headquarters in Paris hosted the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.
The resolution to develop an internationally binding document was adopted in February 2022, after the production of plastic has been shown to worsen pollution, while micro- and nanoplastics have been found in marine ecosystems, air food, and human organs.
First negotiations started on the 28 of November 2022 in Uruguay, and on the 29th of May, for the second time, delegates from 180 nations and dozens of stakeholders including civil society groups, waste pickers, and a coalition of scientists attended INC-2, and Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries was among them. Commissioner Sinkevičius represented the European Commission at the high-level meeting, demanding global regulations for the circular economy, starting from production, lower compliance costs, and more innovation incentives.
The EU demanded legally enforceable requirements to address the production of primary plastics in an effort to make production and consumption sustainable, as plastic production is expected to triple by 2060. The EU also suggested policies to get rid of and limit the use of plastic products that can be avoided, replaced, and create trash, or endanger both human health and the environment. In addition to it, the design of plastic products that are to remain on the market should be more environmentally friendly, and more use should be made of recycled plastics among other things.
A new legally enforceable instrument to stop plastic pollution, notably in the marine environment, could be decided upon by the end of 2024 thanks to the discussions of more than 1,000 delegates from governments, NGOs, industry, and civil society.
With a promise to aim high in the discussions to end plastic pollution by 2040, the EU is taking the lead in the fight against plastic pollution on a global scale by supporting the formation of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution.