Just about any country on earth has consented to a legally binding framework to decrease the contamination from plastic waste except for the United States of America, U.N. environmental officials say.
An agreement on tracking thousands of types of plastic waste emerged Friday at the end of a two-week meeting of United Nations -backed conventions on plastic waste and toxic, hazardous chemicals in Geneva, Switzerland.
Around 180 governments adopted a raft of decisions aimed at protecting human health and the environment from the harmful effects of hazardous chemicals and waste and particularly plastic, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) said Friday.
The governments of 186 countries on Friday have agreed on a new United Nations accord to control the exportation of plastic wastes between national borders; however, the USA rejected this pact.
"Today we have taken a major first step to stem the tide of plastic waste now flowing from the rich developed countries to developing countries in Africa and Asia, all in the name of "recycling", but causing massive and harmful pollution, both on land and in the sea", said Jim Puckett, Director of BAN.
Since then, the waste trading industry, represented in large part by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) redirected many thousands of container loads of plastic waste from Europe and North America to Asian countries, such as India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia forcing these countries to try to rapidly prohibit the imports. "Instead, much of this contaminated mixed waste can not be recycled and is dumped or burned, or finds its way into the ocean", said IPEN science advisor Sara Brosche.
Almost half the plastic waste exported from the US for recycling in the first six months of 2018 was shipped to Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam, according to analysis of US Census Bureau data by Unearthed, Greenpeace's investigative arm, The Guardian reported.
Countries will have to figure out their own ways of adhering to the accord, Mr Payet said.
The announcement came after a two-week meeting in Geneva under the theme of "Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste". The latter has been used in a wide variety of industrial and domestic applications including non-stick cookware and food processing equipment, as well as carpets, paper and paints.
The framework 'is historic in the sense that it is legally binding, ' Payet said.
Officials attributed the progress partly to growing public awareness worldwide - reinforced by documentary films by the British naturalist Sir David Attenborough and others - of the dangers of plastic pollution, especially to marine life.
Paul Rose, expedition leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions, said he believed changing public opinion worldwide about plastic pollution had played a positive role in the negotiations.
"It was those iconic images of the dead albatross chicks on the Pacific Islands with their stomachs open and all recognizable plastic items inside it, and most recently, it's been when we discovered the nanoparticles do cross the blood-brain barrier, and we were able to prove that plastic is in us", Rose said.