The first in a series of Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC 1) meetings is being held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, from November 28 to December 2. These negotiations will be the first step in a series of 5 meetings which are aimed at reaching an agreement by the end of 2024 that will deliver to the world a legally binding treaty to end the plastic pollution crisis.
Negotiators have an overarching goal to ensure that the plastic pollution crisis is addressed, in all environments, in ways that align with the waste hierarchy. This includes prevention at source as well as achieving a circular economy that is safe and protects human health and the climate.
“As world leaders and stakeholders gather for INC 1, we are keen to see the tangible decisions that will address the plastics pollution in the continent and the world at large. We hope the negotiation will prioritise a just transition to more sustainable livelihoods for workers across the plastics supply chain, especially in the informal waste sector and affected communities in low and middle-income countries,’’ said Greenpeace Africa’s Mobilisation Officer, Erastus Ooko.
Africa is grappling with the impacts of single-use plastics. In many urban areas across the continent, plastic waste is clogging waterways leading to floods and destruction. As Africa’s population continues to soar and the middle class expanding at unprecedented rate, plastic pollution has become one of the biggest risks facing communities across Africa today. With over 99% of plastic being made from fossil fuels, plastic production and its use is a significant driver of the climate crisis.
“This year alone, we have seen the devastating impacts of the climate crisis; from droughts in Northern Kenya to deadly storms in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. This treaty is an opportunity for our leaders to protect our climate and frontline communities from these climate impacts,”continued Ooko.
Plastic pollution is irreversible, drives biodiversity loss with devastating impacts on the livelihoods of those who depend on the health of marine ecosystems. The treaty must prioritise protecting biodiversity, the climate and the wellbeing of humans while putting the needs of the most vulnerable communities before the industries that are responsible for creating this crisis.
“Greenpeace Africa is demanding a strong global plastic treaty that will keep oil and gas in the ground and bring to an end the age of plastic pollution and the added burden of plastic waste dumping into Africa. We are calling on governments, corporations, big brands and other stakeholders to join hands to end the plastic pollution in the continent and the world at large,” concluded Ooko.