There are disagreements on whether to limit plastic production

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OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Nations made progress on a treaty to end plastic pollution, finishing the latest round of negotiations in Canada early Tuesday amid sharp disagreements about whether to put global limits on plastic production.
For the first time in the process, negotiators discussed the text of what is supposed to become a global treaty.
Delegates and observers at the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution called it a welcome sign that talk shifted from ideas to treaty language at this fourth of five scheduled meetings.
Rwanda’s representative said negotiators ignored the elephant in the room by not addressing plastic production.
Dozens of scientists from the Scientists’ Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty came to the meeting to provide research on plastic pollution to negotiators, in part, they said, to dispel misinformation.
Despite their differences, the countries represented share a common vision to move forward in the treaty process, Ecuador’s chief negotiator, Walter Schuldt, said.
“Unfortunately, much more political will is needed to address the out of control escalating plastic production.” Many traveled to Ottawa from communities affected by plastic manufacturing and pollution.
She’s reminding decision-makers that this treaty must protect people from plastic pollution for generations to come.

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OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Despite stark differences over whether to impose worldwide restrictions on plastic production, nations advanced toward a treaty to end plastic pollution, concluding the most recent round of talks in Canada early on Tuesday.

Negotiators debated the text of what is intended to be a global treaty for the first time during the process. Speaking about treaty language at this fourth of five scheduled meetings, delegates and observers at the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution hailed it as a positive sign.

The notion of restricting the amount of plastic produced is the most divisive. That is still included in the text despite the adamant objections of nations and businesses that produce plastic as well as those that export gas and oil. The majority of plastic is created using chemicals and fossil fuels.

The committee decided to continue working on the treaty until its final meeting in South Korea later this year as the Ottawa session came to an end.

A review of product design, an assessment of chemicals of concern in plastic products, and financing strategies for treaty implementation will be the main topics of preparation for that session. The representative for Rwanda claimed that by ignoring the issue of plastic production, the negotiators had missed the big picture.

The committee’s executive secretary, Jyoti Mathur-Filipp, stated, “In the end, this is not just about the text, it’s not just about the process.”. Putting our loved ones and future generations ahead of us is the main goal. “.

Stewart Harris, an industry representative for the International Council of Chemical Associations, stated that the members are in favor of a treaty that emphasizes “circularity,” or the recycling and reuse of plastic. “.

They believe that chemicals should not be regulated by this agreement and oppose placing a cap on the production of plastics. Harris stated that the association was happy to see governments banding together and deciding to finish more work, particularly in the areas of financing and the design of plastic products.

At the meeting, dozens of scientists from the Scientists’ Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty presented negotiators with research on plastic pollution, partly, they claimed, to refute false information.

The coalition’s co-leader, Bethanie Carney Almroth, an ecotoxicology professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, said, “I heard yesterday that there’s no data on microplastics, which is verifiably false: 21,000 publications on micro and nanoplastics have been published.”. Whac-A-Mole is comparable. “.

She reported to the U.S. government that lobbyists were intimidating and harassing scientists. Not N. that she was screamed at in a meeting by a lobbyist.

Walter Schuldt, the chief negotiator for Ecuador, stated that despite their differences, the represented nations have a common goal of advancing the treaty process.

“Because, at the end of the day, we’re talking about the survival of life on this planet—not just human life, but all life in general,” he stated in an interview.

After Rwanda and Peru put forth the resolution that sparked the process in March 2022, the treaty negotiations got underway in Uruguay in December 2022. As nations discussed the rules for the process, progress was sluggish in Paris in May 2023 and in Nairobi in November 2023.

The chair of the Ecuadorian committee, Luis Vayas Valdivieso, reminded the tens of thousands of negotiators and observers that their goal was to bring about a future free of plastic pollution. He urged them to aim high.

Along with the treaty’s scope, the delegates have been talking about problematic and avoidable plastics, chemicals of concern, product design, financing, and implementation.

The disorganized jumble of options that resulted from the previous meeting was also streamlined by the delegates.

“After much discussion over the course of two years, we made significant progress. The International Pollutants Elimination Network’s international coordinator, Björn Beeler, stated, “We now have text to negotiate.”. Regretfully, the uncontrollably rising production of plastics requires a great deal more political will. “.

From areas impacted by pollution and plastic manufacturing, many people traveled to Ottawa. People who live close to refineries and petrochemical plants in Texas and Louisiana distributed postcards to the U. S. Wish you were here, the State Department said. “.

From the Break Free From Plastic movement, they journeyed as a group and requested that negotiators visit their states to personally witness the air and water pollution.

“To see change in our communities, this remains the best option available to us. Companies have such a strong hold over them. I am unable to visit the parish authorities,” Jo Banner, a St. Louisiana’s Saint John the Baptist Parish. This appears to be my only opportunity and hope for aiding in the healing and reconstruction of my community. “.

At a press conference on Saturday, members of an Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus claimed that microplastic pollution was tainting their food supply and endangering their communities’ long-term ways of life. They believed no one was listening to them.

Our stakes are higher. Following the event, Juressa Lee from New Zealand stated, “These are our ancestral lands that are being polluted with plastic.”. Not stakeholders, but rightsholders are who we are. The people who are creating the problem should not have as much power over our ability to speak and decide. “.

Tiny plastic particles are abundant in the sediment and shellfish of the northern coast of New Zealand, known as the Bay of Plenty, a seafood source. According to Lee, they view the “resources” found in nature as priceless.

Lee remarked, “Indigenous ways can lead the way.”. The current course of action is obviously ineffective. “.

To advocate for Arctic Indigenous peoples, Vi Waghiyi left Alaska. She is bringing to the attention of those in charge of making decisions that this treaty needs to shield future generations against plastic pollution.

We are here to act as their conscience and make sure they choose what’s best for everyone,” she declared.

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