IPEN International Pollutants Elimination Network

Developing country voices will be excluded at UN plastic talks, say NGOs

a waste picker holding a piece of plastic e-waste, Guardian logo in the foreground

Scientists and NGOs have accused the UN’s environment programme of locking out those “most needing to be heard” from upcoming negotiations in Paris aimed at halting plastic waste.

Last-minute restrictions to the numbers of NGOs attending what the head of Unep described as the “most important multilateral environmental deal” in a decade will exclude people from communities in developing countries harmed by dumping and burning of plastic waste as well as marginalised waste pickers, who are crucial to recycling, from fully participating, they said.

The groups criticised the agency for publishing a report this week, before negotiations between 193 countries over 29 May to 2 June, which they claimed did not fully reflect the health and environmental effects of plastic pollution.

Therese Karlsson, a science adviser at International Pollutants Elimination Network and member of Scept, said: “We have several major concerns, one around the framing of the report, which is very focused on technological solutions in a very optimistic way, even although those technical solutions are not proven.”

“This creates a narrative that makes is easy to think we can fix our way out of this. But we need to talk about chemicals from plastics and decrease the use of plastics.” One concern, she said, was the inclusion of chemical recycling, which was “not recognised as environmentally sound management” under the Basel convention, as a possible interim solution.

Read the full story from The Guardian.