Landmark UN plastic waste pact gets approved but not by US

13 Mai, 2019, 10:18 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Most of the world's countries agree to sharply reduce plastic in oceans

Almost every country in the world has agreed upon a legally binding framework to reduce the pollution from plastic waste - but not the United States, United Nations environmental officials say.

One-hundred-and-eighty-seven participants agreed to make global trade in plastic waste more transparent and better regulated, and to ensure that its management is safer for human health and the environment.

The Geneva meeting amended the 1989 Basel Convention on the control of hazardous wastes to include plastic waste in a legally-binding framework.

Such unsightly and often deadly debris clutters pristine land, floats in huge masses in oceans and entangles wildlife, in many cases with fatal results.

Nearly one million people signed a petition urging the Basel Convention parties to take action, with Paul Rose believing changing public opinion influenced the decision.

Since China stopped accepting recycling from the United States, activists say they have observed plastic waste piling up in developing countries.

"We were finding that there was waste from the USA that was just piled up in villages throughout these countries that had once been primarily agricultural communities", said Claire Arkin, a spokeswoman for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), a non-governmental environmental protection organization.

"Rolph Payet of this United Nations Environment Program reported the" historic" agreement connected to the 186-country, U.N. -supported Basel Convention implies that nations will have to track and monitor the movements of plastic waste beyond their borders.

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"The fact that the U.S. will no longer be able to use the rest of the world as a plastic waste dump is a very significant victory for the environment and global justice", said Puckett. "Nations have resolved to do something which will translate into real action on the ground". Plastic Waste Shipments Exporting countries such as the United States can send their plastic waste to developing countries through private entities even without having to get approval from the government.

Countries will have to work out their own methods of adhering to this accord, Payet said.

It is not clear why the U.S. has not ratified the agreement, although the Trump administration has been an outspoken opponent of numerous UN programmes that it believes work against the interests of the United States.

Payet credited Norway for directing the initiative, that first was introduced in September.

The framework "is historic in the sense that it is legally binding", Payet said. 'They (the countries) have managed to use an existing global instrument to put in place those measures'.

Signed in 1989, the Basel Convention is the most comprehensive global environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes with 187 parties, according to UNEP.

Imports of waste plastic from wealthier nations to South-east Asia, particularly Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand, soared following a sweeping ban by China on many types of waste materials for recycling and disposal.

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