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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

UK reaffirms commitment to ending plastic pollution by 2040

UK reaffirms commitment to ending plastic pollution by 2040


Ministerial statement calls for the adoption of a global treaty on plastic pollution

The UK government and over 50 members of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) to End Plastic Pollution signed a joint ministerial statement on 26 May, reaffirming their commitment to ending plastic pollution by 2040, which calls for the adoption of a global treaty to combat plastic pollution and protect the natural environment. The joint statement sets out a number of proposed mandatory provisions to be included in the legally binding instrument in the form of a global plastic pollution treaty, which is currently subject to negotiations.

The provisions to combat plastic pollution proposed in the statement include: reducing the production and consumption of primary plastic polymers to sustainable levels; eliminating and restricting unnecessary, avoidable or problematic plastics, chemicals and products; eliminating the release of plastics into nature; and introducing binding provisions to ensure reporting and transparency in production quantities, material, chemical and product composition, traceability and labelling across plastics value chains.

According to the government’s press release, the signing of the joint statement builds on the UK government’s commitment to help develop an ambitious, international legally binding treaty that demands urgent action on plastics and drives forward the joint mission to protect at least 30 percent of the world’s ocean by 2030.

The second Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) on Plastic Pollution takes place in Paris between 29 May and 2 June 2023 and will set out the HAC’s ambitions.

Commenting on the announcement, Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “Plastic pollution continues to have a devastating effect on our world’s ocean, people and the wider environment. That’s why it’s more important than ever to step up, take action and drive forward the change needed to bring an end to plastic pollution globally. I am proud to be amongst other HAC members signing this statement that calls for ambitious new measures within the global plastics treaty and look forward to some productive and high-reaching discussions in the upcoming INC-2 meeting in Paris.”