Global Plastics Treaty Negotiations Inch Forward, But Concerns Linger

Environmental Groups Call for Stronger Measures on Production, Funding, and Toxic Chemicals

Negotiations for a landmark global treaty to tackle plastic pollution concluded this week in Ottawa, Canada, with mixed results. While progress was made on key aspects of the treaty text, environmental groups warn that significant hurdles remain before a final agreement is reached in November.

“There’s a sense of both disappointment and determination,” said Beatrice Olivastri of Friends of the Earth Canada. “We saw some positive steps, like a proposed 40% reduction target for plastic production by 2040, but this needs to be even more ambitious.”

A major sticking point in the talks was the issue of plastic production itself. Many developing countries, backed by powerful corporate interests, advocated for focusing solely on managing plastic waste rather than reducing its production at the source. This approach has disappointed environmental advocates who argue that a truly effective treaty needs to address the root cause of the problem.

“A strong, binding treaty can’t be business as usual for the fossil fuel industry,” said Abdul Ghofar from Friends of the Earth Indonesia. “We need a commitment to reduce plastic production and establish a dedicated fund to help developing countries implement sustainable solutions.”

Another area of concern is the issue of chemical additives in plastics. While some countries pushed for regulating these harmful substances through existing environmental agreements, others argued for a more comprehensive approach within the framework of the new treaty.

“Existing mechanisms simply haven’t been enough,” said Rico Euripidou of Friends of the Earth South Africa. “The vast majority of toxic chemicals used in plastics remain unregulated. We need a robust system to address this growing problem.”

Despite the challenges, the negotiations are slated to continue with intersessional work planned before the final round in South Korea this November. Environmental groups are urging governments to use this time to bridge remaining gaps and ensure a treaty that effectively tackles plastic pollution across its entire life cycle.

“The clock is ticking,” said Sam Cossar-Gilbert of Friends of the Earth International. “We need a strong treaty that holds polluters accountable, reduces plastic production, and provides resources for developing countries. We can’t afford to lose sight of this critical goal.”

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