A summit in Paris ahead of negotiations on the global treaty against plastic pollution

175 countries have an appointment from Monday in Paris, at the headquarters of UNESCO, for a second round of negotiations to establish an international treaty against this plastic pollution. Two days before kick-off, the France, host country, organizes this Saturday a curtain raiser with ministers and diplomats from forty countries. What is at stake with this treaty?

GPI (industrial plastic pellets) or "mermaid tears" found in quantity on the coasts of Pornic, in the west of the France. © LOIC VENANCE / AFP

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A figure to give the extent of plastic pollution: 430 million tons of plastic are produced each year in the world... And less than 10% is recycled. Two-thirds end up thrown into the environment. With catastrophic consequences for animals – whales and turtles for example – but also for our health, human beings.

At the top of Everest, in the pack ice, at the bottom of the oceans, in the air. Plastic is already everywhere. Even in our bodies, every week, we eat the equivalent of a plastic bank card. And this petroleum derivative, often accompanied by chemical additives, has been detected in blood and breast milk. Air also carries it. Scientists have calculated that next week, between 40 and 48 kg of microscopic pieces of plastic will be suspended over Paris every day.

Struggle between ambitious countries and the power of the plastics industry

In view of the disastrous consequences for nature and our health, the United Nations wants to reach an international treaty against plastic pollution by the end of 2024. After a first round of negotiations completed on 2 December in Punta del Este (Uruguay), Paris will host on Monday 29 May the second session of the five planned in total. Governance issues have so far dominated the discussions, but the five days of discussions should allow us to begin to draw broad guidelines.

A text to rethink our everyday products. Why would shampoo or toothpaste necessarily be liquid and therefore in plastic containers? To change the way we pack and transport. Ending single-use use, improving the management and recycling of plastic waste. The countries of the South lack the infrastructure for this.

How binding will the text be? The coalition of ambitious countries, led by Rwanda and Norway, will face oil-producing countries, the fossil fuel lobby and states where the plastics industry is a powerful provider of jobs. These discussions "could constitute a crucial step, with the preparation of a first version of the final text of the treaty", hopes, in any case, Christophe Béchu, Minister of Ecological Transition.

►Also listen: Change of air - Plastic: too high an environmental cost


And with AFP)

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  • Environment
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