Belmonte raises world cities’ call for plastics treaty

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
Belmonte raises world cities� call for plastics treaty
Mayor Joy Belmonte na maimbitahan sa International Forum to End Plastic Pollution in Cities sa Paris, France, kung saan kanyang ibinida ang mga programa’t proyekto natin sa lungsod Quezon upang matugunan ang plastic waste reduction.
QC Mayor Joy Belmonte / Facebook Page

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has voiced out the call of city governments around the world for the passage of an international treaty that would address plastic pollution.

“While we as cities are proud of our respective achievements, we recognize that we cannot address the plastic waste crisis alone. We need a truly ambitious global plastics treaty that unifies our efforts and sets a high bar for all nations to follow,” Belmonte said in her speech on Saturday at a global forum to address the plastic waste crisis.

Belmonte has been chosen as the sole representative of local chief executives worldwide at the high level event organized by the French government and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Paris, France.

Belmonte said world mayors specifically want national leaders to consider passing a UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution (Plastic Treaty) that would include provisions on total ban of unnecessary plastics and adoption of reusable items.

Belmonte said other provisions that world mayors want to be included in the treaty are the creation of a financial mechanism to help cities shift harmful consumption patterns into an innovative and sustainable one; and strengthened collaboration with cities in the negotiation process of the treaty to ensure realistic and implementable programs.

Belmonte, meanwhile, urged world city mayors to continue working on their respective programs to address plastic pollution in their localities.

“Let us recognize the power of cities, acknowledge our accomplishments, and empower us with the necessary tools to continue championing the call against plastic pollution. Together, we can forge a future where this is but a distant memory, and our planet thrives in its full glory,” Belmonte said.

Belmonte said that like Quezon City, other cities around the world are also experiencing the adverse impacts of plastic pollution including flooding from clogged sewers, air quality impacts from burning plastics, and the challenge of managing vast amounts of plastic waste.

To address these problems, Belmonte cited some of the measures implemented by the QC government such as prohibiting single-use plastic bags and disposable cutleries, straws and cups in restaurants and fast food chains for dine-in customers and the banning of single-use containers and sachets in hotels.

Belmonte also cited the QC government’s “Trash to Cashback” program to recover plastic waste from the waste stream, especially low value plastics.

Under the program, residents will bring their recyclables and single use plastics to designated areas in exchange for environmental points which they can use to purchase groceries and pay utility bills.

Aside from Belmonte, other speakers in the ongoing event include French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, French Minister for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion Christophe Béchu, UNEP executive director Inger Andersen, Marine Biology professor Richard Thompson of University of Plymouth, Ellen MacArthur Foundation executive for plastics and finance program Rob Opsomer, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) international correspondent Marc Lambertini, and children and youth representative Zuhair Ahmed Kowshik.

Belmonte was accompanied by QC Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Department head Andrea Villaroman.

They have joined delegates from leading cities in the world and international partners including UNEP, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ellen McArthur Foundation, WWF, World Economic Forum, United Nations Development Programme and UN-Habitat.

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