Punta del Este, 28 November 2022 (TDI): Today in Punta del Este, Uruguay, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) begins its first session in preparation for the creation of an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

The current session will run from November 28 until December 2, 2022. A landmark resolution (5/14) to combat plastic pollution and create a legally enforceable agreement on the issue was voted on in February 2022.

The voting took place during the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) with the aim to end the negotiations by the end of 2024.

Moreover, this historic agreement targets the complete lifecycle of plastic from source to sea. It was adopted by heads of state, Environment Ministers, and other leaders from the UN Member States.

The amount of plastic produced annually has increased tremendously over the past few decades, reaching 400 million tonnes in 2018, and is expected to double by 2040.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said the agreement is the most important international multilateral environmental deal since the Paris Climate Accord.

Furthermore, the agreement will be based on a comprehensive approach that considers plastic’s whole life cycle. Through approaches to resource efficiency and the circular economy, the INC will think about ways to encourage sustainable manufacturing.

In addition, the consumption of plastics, from product design to environmentally responsible waste management will also be focused on.

Plastic pollution is a severe global environmental problem that has an adverse effect on sustainable development’s environmental, social, economic, and health aspects.

Read more: Resolution End Plastic Pollution adopted at UNEA-5.2

However, the amount of plastic waste entering aquatic environments might nearly triple from 9 to 14 million tonnes per year in 2016 to 23 to 37 million tonnes per year by 2040 in the absence of critical actions.

Inger Andersen said that “Getting the agreement right will kick start a circular economy that delivers huge benefits. This approach could reduce the volume of plastics entering our oceans by over 80 percent by 2040.