Talks on a global plastics treaty are taking place this week in the United Nations complex in Nairobi, Kenya, a short drive from the country’s biggest landfill-a mountain of garbage, carpeted in single-use plastic.
A local environmental official said Kenya’s expectation is that when the treaty is signed, countries commit to stop the production of single-use plastics.
Daily at the Dandora dump, the equivalent of 30 trucks of throwaway plastic packaging, bags and containers are emptied, official data said.
Global plastic pollution which is destroying habitats, killing wildlife and contaminating the food chain is forecast to double over the next decade.
The treaty is billed as the most important environmental pact since the Paris Agreement.
But how the treaty will tackle single-use plastic production and use is set to be one of the thorniest issues in the talks, according to officials involved, as well as what elements of it will be legally binding and how it will be financed.
Powerful oil and chemical companies’ executives and environmental pressure groups have been in Nairobi since last week observing hours of technical-level discussions on the pact and meeting with officials on the sidelines to press their case on key issues.
“This is not an anti-plastics treaty,” Espen Barth Eide, president of the United Nations Environment Assembly which is hosting the talks in Nairobi, said. “We are not sort of after their product as such, but we want to bring it into a much more viable, circular economy.”
The negotiations are expected to take at least another two years to complete, but the framework agreed in Nairobi is seen as crucial in ultimately determining the treaty’s success.