Implementing a Global Treaty to Combat Single-Use Plastics: The Way Forward

Community Action Against Plastic Waste (CAPws), a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), is urging governments around the world to take decisive action in implementing a global plastics treaty to address the issue of single-use plastics. This treaty, if adopted by the 193 member states of the United Nations, will revolutionize the way plastics are designed, produced, and recycled.

The executive-director of CAPws, Mr Ahmed Tiamiyu, emphasized the urgent need for change during a media capacity building workshop in Abuja. He stressed that despite the importance of plastics in our daily lives, the negative impact on the environment and human health cannot be overlooked. Single-use plastics, in particular, pose significant challenges due to their short lifespan and improper disposal practices.

To tackle this issue effectively, Tiamiyu highlighted the importance of rethinking the entire lifecycle of plastics. He emphasized the need for plastics to be designed for durability and reusability, allowing them to remain in the economy and be repaired and refilled. Furthermore, it is crucial to substitute hazardous chemicals used in their production to minimize the risks faced by users.

Mrs Fejiro Olokpo, Program Manager at Connect Lab Africa, emphasized the need for collective action to combat plastic pollution and reduce the production of single-use plastics. She stressed that the impacts of plastic pollution on the environment and climate change should not be ignored. Olokpo called for the involvement of educational institutions and the youth in promoting sustainable practices.

In addition to the efforts of CSOs, the media also plays a vital role in addressing this issue. Mr Weyinmi Okotie, Clean Energy Campaigner at the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Africa, urged the media to prioritize reporting on long-term solutions such as reducing plastic production and implementing waste segregation at the source. He cautioned against false solutions that could divert attention and resources from real, sustainable solutions.

As the negotiations for the Global Plastics Treaty continue, it is important for governments, CSOs, and the media to work together to raise awareness and implement effective measures to combat plastic pollution. By collaborating and taking immediate action, we can transition towards a more sustainable future, safeguarding the environment and ensuring the well-being of generations to come.

What is the Global Plastics Treaty?

The Global Plastics Treaty is an international legal binding agreement that aims to transform the way plastics are designed, produced, and recycled. It is set to be approved by the United Nations member states by the end of 2024.

Why is addressing single-use plastics important?

Single-use plastics have detrimental effects on the environment and human health. Their short lifespan and improper disposal contribute to pollution and pose risks to ecosystems and wildlife.

What are the proposed solutions to combat plastic pollution?

To combat plastic pollution, it is essential to redesign plastics for durability and reusability, substitute hazardous chemicals used in their production, and promote recycling and waste segregation at the source. Collective action involving governments, CSOs, educational institutions, and the media is crucial for successfully addressing this global challenge.