UN Agrees to Draft Treaty on Plastic Waste

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The Facts

  • Representatives from 175 countries have agreed during a UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, to create a legally binding treaty on plastics.

  • Aimed to be developed and ratified by 2024, the accord has approval of plastic-producing nations such as the US and China, hoping to bind targets with monitoring mechanisms, national plans and the ability to finance poorer countries.


The Spin

Narrative A

Global waterways are reaching their plastic saturation point and are in outright ecological collapse. Unfortunately, cleaning the oceans is very difficult and expensive. This treaty would instead prevent plastic pollution in the first place. We need to move to zero emissions, zero pollution on the plastics front asap.

Narrative B

While the new plastic agreement is admirable, nothing will change until the corporate world gets on board. Right now, corporations are far behind global climate goals and some have even gone backwards since the 2015 Paris Agreement. This is a worrying sign for the future regardless of this new potential treaty.

Narrative C

With the task of collecting and recycling plastic often falling to individuals, the agreement in Nairobi is finally a recognition of informal waste pickers and their importance in the plastics economy and the future of the world.


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