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International Negotiations Commence for Landmark Treaty on Plastic Pollution

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In a pivotal step towards addressing the escalating crisis of plastic pollution, negotiations have been initiated for an international treaty aimed at combatting this global environmental threat. The quest for this treaty arises from the pressing need for reliable measurements to monitor progress and ensure the effectiveness of actions taken.

The key objective of a recently published project was to undertake a comprehensive analysis and propose practical indicators to gauge plastic pollution. The indicators needed to be not only relevant but also easy to measure, providing a comprehensive view of the issue. The project identified that a significant portion of plastic pollution stems from larger plastic items that gradually disintegrate into microplastics. Additionally, mismanaged waste contributes significantly to this problem, but its measurement poses a considerable challenge.

A proposed set of complementary indicators includes:

  1. Plastic Production and Use: Measuring the production and consumption of plastic materials to track their growth.
  2. Recycling Rates: Evaluating the success of recycling efforts in reducing plastic waste.
  3. Plastics in Wastewater and Rivers: Monitoring the presence of plastics in crucial water bodies.
  4. Beach Litter: Assessing the accumulation of plastics on coastlines.
  5. Floating Microplastics: Tracking the presence of microplastics in open water.
  6. Plastic Particles Ingested by Animals: Examining the ingestion of plastic particles by wildlife, such as seabirds.

By adopting this holistic approach to measure plastic losses throughout the entire value chain and the accumulation of plastics in the environment, policymakers and stakeholders aim to enhance their understanding of the plastic pollution issue. These insights will play a pivotal role in shaping effective strategies to mitigate the environmental impact of plastic waste.

This publication, identified as 2023:526, was released by the Secretary of the Nordic Council of Ministers, underlining the commitment of the Nordic region to addressing this critical global challenge. It is expected that these proposed indicators will serve as a valuable resource in the ongoing negotiations for the international treaty on plastic pollution, bringing us one step closer to a cleaner and more sustainable future.


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