A poll of more than 20,000 people in 34 countries shows their support for the world’s ‘first ever’ plastics treaty aimed at creating binding global rules that apply to all countries rather than a voluntary global agreement where governments can choose to act or not.
Ahead of next week’s inaugural negotiations on what will be included in the UN plastics treaty, WWF and the Plastic Free Foundation released an Ipsos survey showing an average of 7 out of 10 people surveyed in 34 countries believe that the treaty should create binding global rules. to end plastic pollution.
According to WWF, this discovery supports a growing number of UN member states who are pushing for a treaty on plastic pollution to include global rules and regulations for the production, design and disposal of plastic rather than a patchwork of national or voluntary standards.
The Plastic Free Foundation and WWF have called on governments to act in unison to establish a plastics treaty with global rules, as they say it is the only way to help achieve a circular economy.
While some countries advocate less restrictive approaches, the survey shows there is less support for voluntary arrangements, with an average of just 14% of people believing this is preferable.
Both sets of research show unequivocal support and the need for strong global regulation of plastics.
The vast majority of citizens want to see a comprehensive set of measures included in the treaty: nearly 8 out of 10 supporting rules to make producers more responsible for the plastic they generate, a ban on hard-to-recycle plastics, and labeling requirements.
Commenting on the survey, Eirik Lindebjerg, global head of plastics policy at WWF International, said: “People are confused and increasingly frustrated by the complex and often contradictory responses to the plastic pollution crisis from governments and industry.
“Through the survey, we sought to understand what citizens of the world want to see happen and with the report, we sought to identify the most effective steps governments can take during negotiations. Both sets of research show unequivocal support and the need for strong global regulation of plastics, from production to end-of-life management.
Negotiations of this treaty are expected to take place in a series of meetings of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, the first beginning in Uruguay on November 28, and negotiations of the treaty are expected to be concluded by 2024.
WWF has also released a report identifying what it calls the “key mechanisms” needed to unlock systemic change in the global plastics economy. The report says binding global rules are needed to drive “systemic change” at the speed and scale that can stop plastic waste from harming the economy, the environment and human health.