UK joins 19 countries to end plastic pollution by 2040

The Coalition will issue statements and undertake intersessional work on essential issues to inform the negotiations to develop an international legally-binding treaty by 2024

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The UK has joined a total of 19 countries to form a coalition as part of their efforts to end plastic pollution by 2040.

The Governments of Rwanda and Norway teamed up to launch The High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, joined by countries including Canada, Peru, Germany, Senegal, Georgia, Republic of Korea and the UK.

Additional nations that are part of the Coalition are Switzerland, Portugal, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Costa Rica, Iceland, Ecuador, France and the Dominican Republic.

It was first initiated following the historic UN Environment Assembly resolution passed in March 2022 to start negotiations of an international legally-binding treaty to end plastic pollution.

The Coalition will issue statements and undertake intersessional work on essential issues to inform the negotiations to develop the treaty by 2024, with members expected to meet in New York in a few weeks during the UN General Assembly to discuss the next steps.

Espen Barth-Eide, Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway and Ao-chair of the Coalition said:“We took the initiative to form a group of ambitious countries to work for a truly effective global treaty that will establish common global rules, turn off the tap and end plastic pollution by 2040.”

According to a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), without urgent global action, the volume of plastics in rivers and lakes will increase from 109 million tonnes in 2019 to 348 million tonnes in 2060 while plastics leaking into oceans with rise from 30 million tonnes in 2019 to 145 million tonnes in 2060.

In addition, plastic consumption is projected to skyrocket in the coming decades, from 460 million tonnes in 2019 to 1,231 million tonnes in 2060, with the most significant sectors driving consumption being packaging, vehicles and construction.

Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Rwanda and co-chair of the coalition added: “Rwanda started the journey to end plastic pollution in 2004, unfortunately plastic wastes are still visible in the country’s downstream which proves the need of global efforts towards a common goal of ending plastic pollution because this is an unacceptable burden to place on future generations.

“Plastic pollution constitutes a planetary crisis with impacts on human health, biodiversity and climate system.”