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Global Plastics Treaty UPSC NOTE

 Global Plastics Treaty

  • The Global Plastics Treaty is a significant attempt to establish a legally binding agreement aimed at reducing and eliminating plastic pollution

  • The decision to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) was made in early 2021 during the fifth UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya

  • The INC’s journey, beginning with an Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group meeting in Dakar, Senegal, in mid-2022, was followed by subsequent meetings in Uruguay, Paris, and Nairobi, with the fourth INC-4 in Canada in April this year. 

  • The final INC-5 meeting in South Korea will continue to see active participation from the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (IAWP)


Importance of informal waste pickers

  • The informal waste and recovery sector (IWRS) is more than a minor player in worldwide municipal solid waste management systems

  • According to the UN-Habitat’s Waste Wise Cities Tool (WaCT), the informal sector accounts for 80% of municipal solid waste recovery in many cities

  • However, as highlighted in the recent Leave No One Behind Report, strategies to reduce plastic pollution often neglect to effectively involve the recovery capacities, skills, and knowledge of the IWRS

  • The IAWP, a vocal participant in the UNEA Plastic Treaty process, emphasises the importance of supporting the formalisation and integration of informal waste pickers into discussions on addressing plastics

  • It also advocates including waste pickers’ perspectives and solutions at every stage of policy and law implementation.

India's perspective

  • As a key representative from the Global South, India promotes an approach that enhances repair, reuse, refill, and recycling without necessarily eliminating the use of plastics altogether.

  • India has also stressed the importance of adopting country-specific circumstances and capacities

  • Hence, India’s informal waste pickers, who are indispensable, remain central to the discussion.

  • We, therefore, need to rethink the formulation of our Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) norms and raise questions on how to integrate this informal worker cohort into the new legal framework.

Way forward

  • As the final round of negotiations for the Global Plastics Treaty approaches the INC-5, a key question remains — on how a global instrument to end plastic pollution can enable a just transition for nearly 15 million people who informally collect and recover up to 58% of global recycled waste, thereby shaping a sustainable future

  • By incorporating their perspectives and ensuring their livelihoods are protected, the treaty can embody social justice and equity principles while leaving no one and no place behind.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Global Plastics Treaty UPSC NOTE
Global Plastics Treaty UPSC NOTE
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