Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Rights Watchdog Calls For Human Rights Protection In Global Plastics Treaty

plastic pollution

A promiment international watchdog on Wednesday called on the countries responsible for drafting a Global Plastics Treaty to ensure the protection of human rights throughout the life cycle of plastic.

Next week, the UN Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee will convene in the seaside city of Punta del Este in Uruguay for the first session toward developing an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

"The global plastics treaty is an important opportunity to address the environmental and human costs of plastics," Human Rights Watch senior environment researcher Katharina Rall said. "Governments should seize this chance to protect the rights of communities around the globe that are harmed by plastic pollution."

The watchdog believes that the production, use and disposal of plastic have a significant impact not only on the environment, but also on human rights.

"Without curbing plastic production, the plastics crisis will only get worse, further threatening the rights of people around the world and damaging the climate," Rall added. "Governments negotiating the new treaty should push for an agreement that requires concrete steps to end the production of unnecessary plastic."

Over 300 million metric tonnes of plastic are produced annually. According to forecasts, plastics production will triple from 2015 to 2060. Many plastic products are non recyclable and can remain in the environment for centuries. Only 9 percent of the plastic produced has been recycled, while most of the plastic waste accumulates in landfills and the environment, according to the watchdog.

Since plastics are made from fossil fuels, they exacerbate the climate crisis, which, in turn, threatens the protection of the human right to health, HRW said. Moreover, sending plastic waste from developed countries to those with weak or non-existent environmental regulations, low labor costs and poor state supervision of violations of environmental and labor rights can cause serious damage to human rights.

In March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly decided to create a committee to draft a legally binding treaty to tackle the global plastics crisis. The goal is to reach an agreement by the end of 2024 and put it into effect in 2025.

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