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Experts for addressing adverse impact of plastic

Staff Correspondent
30 May 2023 20:56:23 | Update: 30 May 2023 20:59:48
Experts for addressing adverse impact of plastic
A woman scours through a pile of waste on the side of a road in Bac Ninh, east of Hanoi, Vietnam on Dec 16, 2019 — AFP Photo

Expert panelists from Africa, Asia Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean demanded the need for member states to negotiate a strong global plastics treaty that addresses the adverse impacts of plastics across its life cycle in the Global South.

They placed the demand in a press briefing at Paris of France to provide perspectives from civil society organisations in the global south as the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution commences on May 29.  

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) along with representatives from Acción Ecológica México, Zero Waste Alliance Ecuador, Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers, Kenya National Waste Pickers Welfare Association, and Community Action Against Plastic Waste jointly organised the press confey.

Panelists urged for setting up an ambitious target to reduce plastic pollution and scaling up reuse and refill to accelerate the transition away from single-use plastics.

They also demanded the treaty must be legally binding and time-bound. Correspondingly, the treaty must reject false solutions.

Experts called for a just transition to safer and more sustainable livelihoods for workers and communities across the plastics supply chain, including those in the informal waste sector and addressing the needs of frontline communities affected by plastic production, incineration, and open burning.

They sought provisions that hold polluting corporations and plastic-producing countries accountable for the profound harms to human rights, human health, ecosystems, and economies arising from the production, deployment and disposal of plastics. 

The treaty should keep provisions in transparency of chemicals in plastic materials and products throughout their whole life cycle. And keep polluters out of the treaty process. 

John Chweya of Kenya National Waste Pickers Welfare Association said, “The world has a historical debt towards waste pickers. Across the globe, our communities have been preventing and managing pollution of the environment from waste, and in particular plastic waste.

“Ending plastic pollution cannot happen without us, and this treaty negotiation process has to center our voices and expertise to achieve a Just transition towards that goal.”

Arpita Bhagat, plastic policy officer for the GAIA Asia Pacific region, said, “Restricted and limited access issues disproportionately impact low-income, worse affected frontline and fence line communities from the Global South who have the highest stake in the ongoing negotiations for an international agreement against plastic pollution.

“This is clear violation of UNEP’s own rules for stakeholder participation. Meanwhile, the access and influence of polluters, indicative of corporate capture of the process, are visible throughout, the recent Spotlight report being a good example.”

She added, “Our voices and concerns are unaddressed. We look for the support of the media to amplify our voices and demand justice for the Global South.”