IPEN International Pollutants Elimination Network

UN talks on a treaty to end global plastic pollution open in Paris

a man carrying trash over his head, AP logo in the foreground

A United Nations committee met in Paris Monday to work on what is intended to be a landmark treaty to bring an end to global plastic pollution, but there is little agreement yet on what the outcome should be.

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for Plastics is charged with developing the first international, legally binding treaty on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. Experts say that in this second session it’s critical that decisions are made about the objectives and scope of the text.

The International Pollutants Elimination Network, or IPEN, wants a treaty that restricts chemicals used to make plastic that are harmful to human health and the environment.

“To focus on plastic waste in this treaty would be a failure because you have to look at plastic production to solve the crisis — including the extraction of fossil fuels and the toxic chemical additives,” said Dr. Tadesse Amera, the network’s co-chair.

IPEN’s international coordinator, Björn Beeler, said countries need to make a plan by the end of this week to write up an initial draft of the treaty text so it can be negotiated at the third meeting. “If there’s no text to negotiate, you’re just continuing to share ideas,” he said. “Then because of the timeline, we could be looking at an early failure.”

Read the full story from the Associated Press.