The UK government has recently shown support for the treaty on plastic pollution, which will take the form of a new international agreement to address plastic waste, breaking a long silence on the issue. Previously, both the UK and the US – two of the biggest waste producing nations per capita – were yet to show support for a global treaty, but the UK has now emerged in support of reducing marine plastic litter, microplastic pollution and the general contribution of single-use plastic to the climate crisis.
The announcement came after a virtual World Trade Organisation event organised by the UK in collaboration with the Global Plastic Action Partnership on environmental sustainability. The UK’s Minister of State, Zac Goldsmith (Minister for Pacific and the Environment), announced that the UK would complement the efforts of a whole host of UN Member States in tackling marine plastic pollution. According to a report by the Guardian, Lord Goldsmith said that the UK could play a vital role in reducing plastic litter globally and the new treaty would go “far beyond” existing agreements.
The UK is in an important position to lead the way to solving the issue of plastic waste and pollution given the nation is to host the UN Climate Conference (CoP26) in November 2021, as well as being the current Chair in Office of the Commonwealth. The US has so far opposed an international agreement on plastic waste, but with the anticipated presidency of Joe Biden, this perhaps will soon change.
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