Rwanda Rallies For Global Treaty To Reduce Plastic Pollution
Earlier this month, The Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), Juliet Kabera, whilst addressing an ongoing dialogue on the elimination of plastic pollution, urged for support from countries across the globe. During the virtual meeting which was organised by Geneva Environment Network, which included 75 organisations led by United Nations Environment Programme, she urged for countries to support the global treaty which is aimed at beating plastic pollution.
Recently, the treaty to reduce global plastic wastes was co-sponsored by Rwanda and Peru.
During the upcoming UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) from February 28th to March 2nd 2022, the draft proposal will be discussed.
Kabera said that the plastic waste situation has emphasised the importance of national, regional and international cooperation to beat plastic pollution.
“Following robust conversations over recent months, we are pleased with the progress that has been made towards an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution,” she said.
The draft resolution acknowledges the international nature of the problem of plastic pollution and the need to confront it at its source.
“We hope that all countries will agree to take the next practical and ambitious steps of negotiating the global treaty, which will be a useful tool to face the issue of plastic pollution head on,” she said and encouraged all nations to limit the manufacture and use of single-use plastics.
In 2019, Rwanda banned single use plastics.
“As we prepare a strong international agreement, there is much we can each do in our own countries right now,” she noted.
“We also need to foster behavioural change in our communities by investing in grassroots initiatives, empowering change makers and demonstrating the clear health and economic benefits,” she said.
She said that there is a need to put in place robust legal and policy frameworks at both the national and global levels saying, “Because plastic pollution is a trans-boundary issue, we can only solve it by working together.”
“In 2004, Rwanda banned plastic bags as well as specific types of plastic packaging. This was done following an assessment that showed the negative impact these materials were having on human health and our environment. Since then, we have also banned single-use plastics and are now transitioning to sustainable alternatives,” she shared the experience.
A report on the UN reaction to marine litter and plastic pollution was also unveiled at the event.
“The report is an important contribution to the effort to beat plastic pollution and also provides practical recommendations for scaling up and increasing the impact of this work,” she said.
“The annual global production of plastics is approaching 350 million tons, and some estimates suggest this figure could reach as much as 33 billion tons by 2050 if the current consumption rate continues,” reads the report.
Holly Moon, Content Manager