Historic Global Agreement
With the swing of a recycled plastic gavel, the world took its biggest step in the global fight against plastic waste.
On March 2, 175 nations at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi agreed to start writing a binding agreement to tackle global plastic – from production and design to disposal and pollution.
Fourteen resolutions will provide the framework to create a treaty with a target for completion in 2024.
In addition to agreeing to write an internationally binding agreement, the treaty will work to improve technical and financial assistance to developing countries, improve recycling, clean-up existing waste, and perhaps most importantly, curb the production of plastic itself.
For the first time, it formally acknowledged the crucial role of informal “waste pickers” who handle most of the world’s plastic waste.
Waste pickers usually work for low payment to collect and sort waste from dumps, roadsides and waterways, often working amidst open fires and toxic vapors.
Without health benefits, food security or educational opportunities for their children, these vital workers require appropriate compensation and safe working conditions.
Supporters of the program have compared the importance of this treaty to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
With this agreement to create a treaty by 2024, the hard work has just begun, but plastic waste knows no national boundaries, and international cooperation is crucial.
Learn more: United Nations Environment Programme