Climate and Environment

ASEAN urged to champion ambitious global plastics pact

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
ASEAN urged to champion ambitious global plastics pact
This photo taken on Sept. 18, 2019 shows a woman sorting plastic items from piles of thrash to be sold at recycling shops in Manila. Junkyards have been a source of income for urban poor who live in communities near city dumpsites.
AFP/Maria Tan

MANILA, Philippines — Civil society organizations called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take a firm stand in the penultimate meeting for the first ever treaty to address plastic pollution.

In an open letter released ahead of the fourth Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) meeting for a Global Plastics Treaty, environmental organizations across the region called for a pact that prioritizes reduction in plastic production, ends the transboundary movement of plastic waste, eliminates toxins in plastics, and scales up reuse and refill infrastructures. 

They also urged the ASEAN leadership to negotiate a treaty that rejects chemical recycling, incineration and waste-to-energy, mandates polluter and producer accountability, and places human rights and social justice at the core. 

Southeast Asia is severely impacted by plastic pollution, which poses threats to the environment and human health. The region also receives a significant amount of plastic waste imported from developed countries.

Mayang Azurin, deputy director for Campaigns of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific, said that ASEAN leaders must hold wealthy countries accountable for dumping their plastic waste in Southeast Asia. 

“We urge ASEAN to protect the region as the home for empowering, sustainable and proven solutions by ensuring an ambitious Global Plastics Treaty,” Azurin said. 

“We call on the ASEAN member countries to negotiate a plastics treaty that contains strong, legally binding control provisions to protect human health and the environment,” said Chinkie Pelino-Golle, regional coordinator of International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) Southeast and East Asia.

Delegates from 173 countries will convene at INC-4 in Ottawa, Canada from April 23 to 29. 

The United Nations member states will reconvene in November 2024 in South Korea for the fifth and final round of negotiations.

A poll released by Greenpeace International ahead of INC-4 showed that 9 in 10 Filipinos support reducing plastic production to combat plastic pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change.

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