UNEA3: towards international law against plastic soup

Nairobi, 5 December 2017 – Without dramatic action, plastic production is expected to grow massively in the coming decades, bringing with it an endless wave of plastic waste and plastic pollution. However, there is no international law against plastics flooding into the sea from the land.

This month environment ministers from around the world meet in Nairobi, Kenya for the third United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA). Plastic pollution is recognised as a serious and rapidly growing issue of global concern. UNEA is the place to decide about the next step the world has to take.

A draft resolution, prepared by Norway, calls for the establishment of an Open-Ended Ad Hoc Working Group to make recommendations to strengthen international governance structures for combating marine plastic litter and microplastics that could lead to the proposition of global convention.

Several member representatives of the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement, including the Plastic Soup Foundation, are attending UNEA3 in support of a joint call for an international legally binding agreement on plastics and plastic pollution. Any such convention should include a binding global reduction target, and requirements for loss prevention, collection, and recycling of all plastics. Global quality standards and market restrictions are needed. To ensure governments and industries comply with global targets for reduction a set of strong enforcement mechanisms should be implemented.

#BreakFreeFromPlastic calls for:

  • implementing forms of extended responsibility of plastic producers, like container deposit schemes, in terms of both waste management and full environmental and health costs of plastic;
  • focus on upstream solutions and prevention, not on clean-ups or consumer behavior change;
  • clear mandate for an Ad HocOpen-Ended Working Group to explore international governance structures to address plastic pollution and marine litter.