Businesses call for smooth transition to end plastic pollution

Businesses call for smooth transition to end plastic pollution
Businesses call for smooth transition to end plastic pollution

Africa-Press – Rwanda. The business sector has called for the development of a comprehensive and coordinated policy framework to enable more conducive conditions for investments in infrastructure, innovation and skills that will facilitate a transition to a more circular economy, globally.

A circular economy is defined as a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible.

The call was welcomed in the November 28 statement by the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) member states as negotiations to end plastic pollution begun in Uruguay.

Rwanda joined nations from around the world in Uruguay to begin drafting a global treaty to end plastic pollution by 2040. The session is on in Punta del Este, from November 28 to December 2, following multi-stakeholder and regional consultations as well as bureau meetings held from November 26 to 27.

The idea to develop a global treaty to end plastic pollution was initiated by Rwanda and later supported by Peru before it was passed as a resolution at the United Nations Environment Assembly held in Nairobi, in March. The historic resolution to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement, by 2024, is considered the most important environment-related resolution taken since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015.

Impounded single use plastics collected from different Rwandan shops.The Governments of Rwanda and Norway have launched the

High Ambition Coalition to end plastic pollution. File photo.

The process to draft and negotiate the treaty will take two years.

The aim is to eliminate plastic waste upstream during production and downstream during waste management.

At the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, every continent is represented by two countries. Africa is represented by Rwanda and Senegal, which will serve as Bureau Members.

“We are delighted that the drafting of a global Treaty on plastic pollution has now started. As the initiator of this treaty, Rwanda looks forward to working with other nations to create a legally-binding framework which holds us all accountable for ending plastic pollution by 2040,” said Juliet Kabera, Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority and Rwanda’s representative on the committee.

The Bureau of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, which will be formally elected during this first meeting, will provide guidance in organizing the meetings of the committee. The Committee will develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.

The instrument is to be based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic.

The committee will consider how to promote sustainable production and consumption of plastics from product design to environmentally sound waste management through resource efficiency and circular economy approaches.

The creation of a global Treaty to end plastic pollution aims to facilitate international cooperation through technology and knowledge sharing, as well as creating appropriate mechanisms for investment.

This collaborative spirit, Kabera said, will ensure the world can take full advantage of the economic opportunities created by a viable and vibrant circular economy for plastic.

Rwanda is also Co-Chair of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution. The country has joined more than 50 fellow members to send a united message to step up global ambition to end plastic pollution by 2040.

More than 22 million tons of plastic pollution leaks into the environment every year. This estimate is projected to double by 2060, while more than 140 million tons of plastic waste has already accumulated in rivers, lakes and oceans over the last 70 years.

Business coalition

The Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty has also been created.

The coalition brings together more than 80 businesses and financial institutions committed to supporting the development of an ambitious, effective and legally binding UN treaty to end plastic pollution.

In Rwanda, there is a need to establish centres across the country to collect and recycle more than 500 tons of single-use plastic waste generated every month, environmentalists said last week.

The need is based on Rwanda’s move to ban and reduce single-use plastics in line with implementing the 2019 law prohibiting the manufacturing, importation, use, and sale of single-use plastic items in Rwanda.

More than 6,000 tons of single-use plastic waste need recycling every year.

Through the new project to collect and recycle plastic waste, more than 1,200 jobs could be created once scaled up in all districts.

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