Kenya – Nairobi : Plastic pollution: environmental activists call for “drastic” action ahead of a meeting
November 11, 23
Hundreds of environmental activists demonstrated in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Saturday November 11, calling for a “drastic” reduction in plastic production ahead of an international meeting to negotiate a plastics treaty.
Representatives from over 170 nations will meet in Nairobi from Monday until November 19, to negotiate concrete measures to be included in a binding global treaty to end plastic pollution.
The demonstrators held up placards reading “Plastic crisis = climate crisis” and “We must end multi-generational toxic exposure”.
They chanted “Let the polluters pay” as they marched slowly behind a marching band from central Nairobi to a park in the west of the capital.
Last year, nations agreed to finalize by 2024 a UN treaty – the first of its kind in the world – to combat the scourge of plastics, which can be found everywhere from mountain tops to ocean depths, via human blood and mother’s milk.
Negotiators have already met twice, but the Nairobi meeting is the first opportunity to discuss a draft treaty published in September, which outlines the many possible ways of tackling the plastic problem.
This meeting is the third of five sessions in a fast-track process aimed at concluding negotiations next year so that the treaty can be adopted by mid-2025.
At the last talks in Paris, campaigners accused the major plastic-producing countries of deliberately dragging things out after wasting two days debating procedural points.
This time, the sessions were extended by two days, but there are still fears that a watered-down version of the treaty could emerge if the in-depth discussions stall.
Global plastic production has more than doubled since the turn of the century to 460 million tonnes, and could triple by 2060 if nothing is done. Only 9% of this is currently recycled.
Microplastics have been found everywhere, from the clouds to the deepest ocean trenches, as well as in the human body.
The effects of plastics on human health remain poorly understood, but scientists are increasingly concerned.
Plastics also contribute to global warming, accounting for 3.4% of global emissions in 2019, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
© Agence France-Presse