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World’s Largest Plastic Producers Ask UN For Global Treaty To Curb Plastic Pollution

Munir Uz Zaman/AFP via Getty Images

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Thomas Catenacci Energy & Environment Reporter
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A coalition of the world’s largest producers and users of plastic led by Coca Cola and PepsiCo urged the United Nations to create a legally binding treaty addressing plastic pollution.

The more than 100 financial institutions, producers, retailers, waste management firms and other organizations that signed the letter asked the UN to issue the treaty during the upcoming United Nations Environment Assembly meeting in February, according to a public letter published Monday. The summit is a most “auspicious moment” for such an international agreement, the signatories said.

“A new UN treaty is crucial to set a high common standard of action for all countries to abide by, and to drive the transition to a circular economy for plastics globally and at scale,” the letter said. “This requires governments to align on regulatory measures that cover the whole life cycle of plastics, not limiting the scope of negotiations to address waste management challenges only.” (RELATED: UN Climate Conference Sponsor Unilever Is Among World’s Biggest Plastics Polluters: REPORT)

Community volunteers remove plastics with fishing net in Kisumu, Kenya to mark the World Cleanup Day, on Sept. 18. (Brian Ongoro/AFP via Getty Images)

Community volunteers remove plastics with fishing net in Kisumu, Kenya to mark the World Cleanup Day, on Sept. 18. (Brian Ongoro/AFP via Getty Images)

“We are at a critical point in time to establish an ambitious UN treaty that fosters collaboration for systemic solutions and speeds up the transition to a circular economy globally,” the letter said.

The coalition said that plastic pollution affects all nations and has a significant impact on the environment and society. It said a coordinated response to pollution would contribute to the fight against climate change.

IKEA, Unilever, Nestle, Mondelez, Walmart and Starbucks were among the brands and users of plastic to endorse the letter.

An estimated 8 million tons of plastic is polluted into oceans on an annual basis, according to National Geographic. That is enough plastic to line every coastline worldwide with five garbage bags of trash per foot, according to National Geographic.

Academic research has also linked mass pollution of plastic, which requires fossil fuels for production, and global warming.

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