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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Negotiations for Global Plastics Treaty 4th meeting in Ottawa conclude setting intercessional work for a Bridge to Busan.

Photo Credit: Ottawa march for a Plastics Treaty coutesy FoEI via X

The United Nations Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Global Plastics Treaty is holding its fourth meeting in Ottawa, Canada from 23–29 April 2024 to prepare a treaty by the end of 2024. Global Plastics pollution is an escalating Crisis that interlinks with the Biodiversity Crisis and Climate Crisis. The Health and environmental impacts of plastics, microplastics and nanoplastics are of increasing concern as more research is done. (See Background Science).

The process for a Global Plastics Treaty was started in March 2022 at the resumed fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2). See my reports of INC1, INC2, INC3.

A Zero Draft of the treaty has been prepared with elements of both common rules for all parties, and a nationally driven policy framework, and many procedural issues still to sort out. Australia is a member of the High Ambition Coalitionto End Plastics Pollution, which put out this joint Ministerial statement before INC4. 

UNEP INC4 website | CIEL INC4 preparatory work | Break Free From Plastic News | 
IPEN | Minderoo Foundation

INC4 wrapped up with some progess made, decision on intercessional work covering several issues but excluding polymer production and reducing production, and kicking the big decisions on plastics regulation down the road. The failure of the High Ambition Coalition to speak up and push more strongly for more ambition by including more in intercessional work at the last plenary is a lost opportunity that may knobble ambition in the treaty that results.

The next negotiation meeting - INC5 - is due in November in Busan, South Korea.

29 April - Day 7

Media on INC4 outcomes:

The Guardian: Developed countries accused of bowing to lobbyists at plastic pollution talks

AP News: At plastics treaty talks in Canada, sharp disagreements on whether to limit plastic production

Zero Waste Europe: Global Plastics Treaty – another brick in the wall?

UNEP media release: Road to Busan clear as negotiations on a global plastics treaty close in Ottawa

Comments on the final day and hours of negotiations:

Negotiations wrapped up at 3.17 am local time in Ottawa with the call from the dais: “Plastics may last forever, but this INC should not!”.

Miko Aliño (@mikoalino) commented on X: "The bridge getting to an ambitious #PlasticsTreaty became much more challenging after #INC4 delegates chose to exclude production reduction measures from intersessional work – a compromise that ignores the full plastics life cycle, contrary to the UNEA Resolution 5/14 mandate."

Earth Negotiations Bulletin (@IISD_ENB) commented on X: "Despite a growth of brackets and new text when #INC4 was meant to streamline, there were some signs of #PlasticTreaty progress, such as agreeing to set a legal drafting group to ensure the text of the new instrument on #plasticpollution is legally sound."

Greenpeace Canada summarised the outcome in a statement highlighting the failure in the High Ambition Coalition (that includes Canada, Australia) to push more strongly for "inclusion of any reference to plastic production or polymers in intersessional work, despite strong support by various countries, scientists and civil society groups. While Canada supported in principle a proposal from Rwanda to add a reduction of production in the intersessional work, the country and various other high ambition coalition governments did not push for it  in the final plenary, resulting in a compromised outcome."

Graham Forbes, Greenpeace Head of Delegation to the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations and Global Plastics Campaign Lead at Greenpeace USA, said:

“The world is burning and member states are wasting time and opportunity. We saw some progress, aided by the continued efforts of states such as Rwanda, Peru, and the signatories of the Bridge to Busan declaration in pushing to reduce plastic production. However, compromises were made on the outcome which disregarded plastic production cuts further distancing us from reaching a treaty that science requires and justice demands. People are being harmed by plastic production every day, but states are listening more closely to petrochemical lobbyists than health scientists. Any child can see that we cannot solve the plastic crisis unless we stop making so much plastic. The entire world is watching, and if countries, particularly in the so-called ‘High Ambition Coalition’, don’t act between now and INC5 in Busan, the treaty they are likely to get is one that could have been written by ExxonMobil and their acolytes.

“We are heading towards disaster and with time running out – we need a Global Plastics Treaty that cuts plastic production and ends single-use plastic. There is no time to waste on approaches that will not solve the problem.”

Break Free from Plastics in a statement -  INC-4 negotiating countries fail to respond to the magnitude of the plastics crisis - also highlighted the non-inclusion of plastics production in intercessional work as a lost opportunity making the achievement of an ambitious treaty more difficult:

"Today’s decision to exclude upstream measures from the intersessional work means it will be more daunting to include extraction or production reduction measures under the ambit of the draft plastics treaty. This compromise diminishes the ambition of this process as it ignores the central role of plastics production in fueling the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises. This is not only an utter disappointment, but also a missed opportunity to tackle the root causes comprehensively." 

Indian based NGO Centre for Financial Accountability (@cfa_ind) did a thread summary of outcomes on X:

"The fourth meeting of the INC for a global agreement to end plastic pollution concluded on April 29 after a plenary full of huddles and the regrettable decision to not include discussions on primary plastic polymers in the intersessional work. "

"Countries decided to move forward with intersessional work on the financial mechanism, as well as on plastic products, chemicals of concern in plastic products, product design, reusability, and recyclability."

"Member States agreed to include observers’ participation during this work. They also decided to create a legal drafting group that will conduct a legal review of the text and provide recommendations to the plenary. "

"The exclusion of upstream measures from intersessional work, however, weakens the plastics treaty's scope. Ignoring plastics production's impact on climate, biodiversity, and pollution crises undermines comprehensive solutions."

"This compromise diminishes ambition and highlights the need for holistic solutions. It's not just disappointing; it's a severe setback in our efforts to combat the plastic pollution crisis." 

WWF said in a statement while progress had been made, most of the big decisions that determine how ambitious the treaty will be are still to be made:

“Countries have made important progress in Canada with constructive discussions on what the treaty will actually do, but the big decisions still remain: will we get the strong treaty with common global rules that most of the world is calling for, or will we end up with a voluntary watered-down agreement led by least common denominator values?

"Negotiators need to recognise that plastic pollution is an accelerating global crisis that cannot be solved with fragmented national approaches. Governments must now employ all possible means to step up progress between the meetings on measures that will have the biggest impact on addressing plastic pollution across plastic’s full lifecycle, in particular, global bans on high-risk products and chemicals, global product design requirements and a robust financial package to secure a just transition,” said Eirik Lindebjerg, Global Plastics Policy Lead, WWF International.

IISD/ENB noted the Conference outcomes in Highlights and images for 29 April 2024:

During the closing plenary, INC Chair Luis Vayas Valdivieso (Ecuador) proposed, and delegates agreed to establish a legal drafting group to ensure legal clarity in the text of the future agreement. The Committee also established two intersessional expert groups to:

develop an analysis of potential sources and means that could be mobilized, for implementation of the objectives of the instrument, including options for the establishment of a financial mechanism, alignment of financial flows, and catalyzing finance; and 

identify and analyze criteria and non-criteria based approaches with regards to plastic pollution and chemicals of concern in plastic products and product design, focusing on recyclability and reusability of plastic products and their uses and applications.

During the course of the day, delegates had considered and modified the streamlined parts of the Revised Draft Text (PDF), on issues related to just transition, the preamble, objective, scope, and the principles that will govern the new agreement, as well as the technical issues to be addressed in the future instrument. 

Global Alliance Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Global South media conference (Starts 11 mins in):

Europe proposes to adjourn INC4 and hold an INC4.2 to further work

Delphine Levi Alvares (@delphinelevialv) comments on X At 2.16 am, "EU proposes to adjourn rather than close #INC4 and hold an INC4.2 to continue the work. GCC countries are obviously saying no. The group of 'like-minded countries' is brought up again and still has not disclosed who is part of it... Are they ashamed of working together?"

Earth Negotiations Bulletin (@IISD_ENB) on X: "Delegates at #INC4 discuss a European Union, proposal calling for additional time for negotiations before INC-5, calling to adjourn INC-4 and resume the work to identify common areas and landing spots before November 2024. "

Rwanda and Peru propose 40% by 2040 plastics production reduction target

Rwanda and Peru submitted a conference room paper calling for a compilation report of scientific and technical information on sustainable levels of consumption and production of primary plastic polymers, and an open-ended working group to consider options for primary plastic polymers including the implication of no option.

"The science tells us that current and projected levels of plastic consumption and production are unsustainable and far exceed our waste management and recycling capacities. Moreover, these levels of production are also inconsistent with the goal of ending plastic pollution and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees." said a Rwanda statement on intercessional work.

A motion submitted by Rwanda and Peru sets out a global reduction target, ambitiously termed a “north star”, to cut the production of primary plastic polymers across the world by 40% by 2040, from a 2025 baseline. 

It says: “The effectiveness of both supply and demand-side measures will be assessed, in whole or in part, on their success in reducing the production of primary plastic polymers to sustainable levels.” (Guardian

The motion was supported by 29 countries including Australia, Denmark, Nigeria, Portugal, the Netherlands and Nigeria, who signed a declaration, “the Bridge to Busan”, calling on all delegates to ensure plastic production was addressed.

Final Plenary Video: 

28 April - Day 6

The IISD/ENB In the Corridors informal summary of Sunday's negotiation report:

Delegates arriving for the penultimate day of official negotiating time for INC-4 hunkered down, with some Subgroups spending considerable time validating streamlined texts, while others proceeded with line-by-line negotiations. Discussions had become heated in one group late Saturday evening, with some delegations noting that their considerations did not appear in the streamlined text. “Any discussions on polymers goes beyond the mandate of the INC,” charged one delegation, noting that they had made strong calls to delete that part of the text, and were concerned that it was still reflected in the Co-Facilitators’ streamlined text. In response, another delegate stated that “we must be able to discuss polymers in order to consider the full lifecycle of plastic.”

As delegates worked through the text, it was sometimes difficult to see the shape the future instrument will eventually take. “There are so many no-text options, the final document may just be one page,” joked one delegate. Others were encouraged by the proposals for intersessional work, although how to fit all the potential issues to consider into the six months before INC-5 will be challenging.

The heavy sighs among participants were palpable in the hallways and contact group rooms as many realized the sheer amount of work they will need to get through before the end of 2024. What will the output of INC-4 be? How useful will it be for their deliberations at INC-5? Will a foundation of convergence on key concerns among delegations be possible to advance an agenda leading to a robust ILBI on plastic pollution? While the somber mood spoke volumes, the path towards candid textual negotiations offered a glimmer of hope.

27 April - Day 5

The IISD/ENB In the Corridors informal summary of Saturday's negotiation report:

As the energy waned in the halls of the Shaw Center in Ottawa, delegates slogged through the Revised Zero Draft to make headway on narrowing down the options, thereby streamlining the text.

Spending a considerable amount of time during the day addressing issues of finance, the testy discussion about breaking the traditional approach to financing, that developed countries should pay, has reared its head over the past few days. If all countries are responsible for plastic pollution in the environment, all countries pay to clean it up, correct? And what about historical responsibility? Should we compel the plastics industry to pay for plastic waste generated further down the plastics value chain? Delegations grappled with these questions, as one delegate reminded others that to effectively implement the new treaty, every cent, from every source, will count.

In the corridors, and behind closed doors, many participants were involved in fevered conversations about the status of the Draft and the nature and magnitude of intersessional work ahead. “They’ve spent so much time streamlining the text that we really may not get to the heart of the textual negotiations at this meeting,” lamented one worried observer. One participant said that “at this stage, we don’t know if we are taking one step forward and two steps back, or two steps forward and one step back.” On intersessional work, one delegate was overheard saying, “this cannot be a repeat of Nairobi… the earlier we hear what is planned, the sooner we can agree.” One seasoned delegate, commenting on the sheer volume of work remaining, wondered if INC-4 would benefit from “one additional day of negotiations.” A plenary scheduled for Sunday may give additional guidance.

26 April - Day 4

The IISD/ENB In the Corridors informal summary of Friday's negotiation report:

On a Friday that felt like a Wednesday, delegates continued streamlining the Revised Draft Text. Many were excited to discuss the issue related to fishing gear in a joint Subgroup, with some being reminded that the issue of marine litter was what kickstarted the global discussions on marine plastic which grew into these negotiations towards a plastic pollution treaty. A seasoned delegate expressed optimism that “consensus was likely achievable,” hoping that an “easy win” could infuse the rest of the process with much needed energy. But what initially appeared to be a low-hanging fruit proved to be rather more complex, with developing countries wondering who would pay for the artisanal fishing industries to obtain alternative, biodegradable fishing gear.

In the morning, some were surprised to see the daily program showing three contact groups meeting in parallel. The schedule remained fluid, with some delegates arriving in the right rooms at the wrong time, and others missing out on short sessions altogether. “My delegation cannot be in three different places at the same time, didn’t we agree we wouldn’t do that?” complained one delegate.

Meanwhile, rumors were circulating about the possibility of a resumed INC-4 (INC-4.2) that could be convened prior to INC-5. In hushed conversations, some delegations shared that convening a “jamboree” would not be as effective as holding structured intersessional talks, targeted at the most contentious issues that remain on the agenda. Unfortunately, the late-night plenary did not shed more light on the status of intersessional work.

What is abundantly clear is that delegates will have their hands full for the rest of the meeting, with three meetings running in parallel to get through another reading of the text.

26 April - Plenary Video:
Debate on whether to proceed with 3 sub-groups running in parallel to speed work in the limited time at INC4. Australia spoke in favour of this. Many small countries have small delegations and would be unable to attend 3 groups in parallel. Chair decides to proceed with two meetings in parallel.with a third stream when exceptional circumstances dictate.

26 April 2024 - Canada's First Nation declares emergency due to excessive chemicals emission (Yahoo News)

26 April 2024, Greenpeace ramps up pressure on UN delegates to cut plastic production, by delivering a “Global Plastics Factory” outside the Shaw Centre (Greenpeace)

26 April 2024, Plastics Offsetting project by Danone in Bali called into question 

A plastic offsetting project backed by the food and drink giant Danone has been suspended, following allegations that a recycling facility was built illegally close to a Balinese community and without proper consultation, an Unearthed investigation has found. Danone’s project was set up as an attempt by the French multinational to offset its enormous plastic footprint in Indonesia, and part of its promise to recover more plastic than it uses in the country by 2025. (Greenpeace Unearthed)

25 April - Day 3

The IISD/ENB In the Corridors informal summary of Thursday's negotiation report:

On Thursday, delegates were preoccupied with seemingly simple provisions which may have monumental effects. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) operates in the spirit of the polluter-pays principle, in which a producer’s responsibility is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. This means that responsibility for tackling pollution would begin upstream at the production stage and may involve incentives to encourage producers to sustainably design plastic products by eliminating harmful polymers. While EPR is a fundamental and ambitious strategy for addressing plastic pollution, the concept remains contentious among delegations at the INC, partly due to the interests of those plastic producers present in these negotiations. Some observers from civil society have drawn attention to the growing number of participants from the fossil fuel and chemicals industry at these negotiations. Much as this seems like a worrying trend, one seasoned participant noted that the practice of lobbying is not new in intergovernmental processes, raising the question: “aren’t government representatives from oil producing countries also lobbyists for their own national interests?”

Although EPR schemes are intended to hold producers accountable for the proliferation of plastics and go beyond downstream approaches to plastic waste clean-ups, some delegates have raised concerns about the risk of such schemes in exacerbating economic inequalities and food insecurity in developing countries, or being implemented in a manner that merely offloads the costs of sustainable product designs onto consumers. And yet, this does not mean that all countries must continue to depend on plastic for development. Some developing country delegations even volunteered to share their knowledge on non-plastic substitutes, which have been utilized by Indigenous Peoples and local communities for generations.

Some observers took it a step further, wondering why discussions on the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system have been absent in the negotiations thus far. This system gives the transnational private sector the power to bypass domestic legislation and sue governments for actions that could jeopardize industries’ bottom line. It remains to be seen if the elephants in the room will emerge in time to support a robust and effective plastics treaty.

25 April, 2024, CIEL - Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Outnumber National Delegations, Scientists, and Indigenous Peoples at Plastics Treaty Negotiations a 37% increase from the 143 lobbyists registered at INC-3.. (CIEL

24 April - Day 2

The IISD/ENB In the Corridors informal summary of Wednesday's negotiation report:

On a snowy Ottawa morning, delegates spent precious time dealing with logistical hiccups: last-minute schedule changes, microphones not working, a lagging internet connection, and hundreds of delegates having to change rooms. This led some to wonder “what will truly shake up this process” that is so important to shaping the future of the planet. At this fourth session, the second to last to hammer out a treaty to firmly put an end to the scourge of plastic pollution, there was some confusion about how to carve out the details of a new agreement before agreeing on the scope of the future treaty, the elephant in the room. While some countries feel this was clearly set out by UNEA resolution 5/14, for many others, crucial questions remain such as a definition of the “full lifecycle of plastic(s),” as well as the kinds of financial resources that the instrument will make available to ensure effective implementation.

While one delegate hopefully expressed that the “Nairobi spirit remains with us,” another felt that the difficulties in deciding the way forward were indicative of “a lack of trust” in the process. On the bright side, many were jubilant about the progress being made at INC-4. “We are finally hearing what other states really want and how to bridge those gaps,” shared one delegate, “and that’s something!”

ABC News, 24 April 2024,  VIDEO: Global leaders meet to draft treaty on plastic pollution

National Observer (Canada), 24 April 2024Here’s who is holding the UN plastics treaty hostage

24 April 2024 - Plenary Video 2 - Contact Groups

23 April - Day 1

The IISD/ENB In the Corridors informal summary of Tuesday's negotiation report:

Substantive negotiations towards a new treaty on plastic pollution began in earnest at the fourth of five sessions planned for the INC. Delegates were well prepped on the first day of INC-4, having participated in regional consultations as well as a Partnerships Day in the days just preceding the opening of negotiations. Many were quick to acknowledge that the road towards a new treaty is steep, and, at least at this point, a heavy mist still obscures the route.

Will everybody get on board with restricting the production of certain plastics? Which ones? Who will set the “sustainable levels” of plastic production? Will extended producer responsibility schemes apply globally or only nationally? At what point does plastic become waste? How will the world address trade in plastic waste? Will the treaty provide protections for waste pickers? Who will fund it all? With all these questions pending, Committee members were also aware of the time crunch.

“We have to get right down to work if we are to reach consensus before the year’s end,” shared one stressed, but optimistic delegate. Others seemed to suggest that instead of rushing, the INC should take its time to get a “high quality agreement” at some distant point in the future. Pushing back, a seasoned participant noted that “this issue is too serious for us to stretch out these discussions. We know what we need to do by now, don’t we?”

23 April 2024 - Opening Plenary Video 1:  

23 April 2024 -  Greenpeace Australia Pacific  calls for the treaty to set a legally-binding target to reduce plastic production by at least 75% by 2040, followed by significant reductions in production year-on-year and eventually phase out plastic production entirely.

Senior Oceans Campaigner Violette Snow said the Australian government must champion strong targets and focus on reducing plastic production. (Greenpeace Australia)

23 April 2024, Minderoo Foundation: Andrew Forrest on need for a Plastics Treaty: “This INC-4 which Ottawa is hosting, this Global Plastics Treaty is here to address the terrible additives that are put in to plastics to make it bend and colourful and stand up - it’s dangerous to human health.  I’m saying to these negotiators here: if you are from a fossil fuel company or a polymer company and you are here in disguise - and you have come here to destroy this treaty - you are actually destroying humanity.” - Minderoo Foundation Co-Founder Dr. Andrew Forrest speaks to Susan Ormiston from CBC on the eve of INC-4 in Ottawa. (Minderoo Foundation FB)

18 April 2024, The Hill, Plastics industry heats world 4 times as much as air travel, report finds, (The Hill) See also, Karali, Nihan, Nina Khanna, Nihar Shah, (April 2024) Climate Impact of Primary Plastic Production

 "Under a conservative growth scenario (2.5%/yr), GHG emissions from primary plastic production would more than double to 4.75 GtCO2e by 2050, accounting for 21-26% of the remaining global carbon budget to keep average temperature increases below 1.5°C. At 4%/yr growth, emissions from primary plastic production would increase more than three times to 6.78 GtCO2e, accounting for 25-31% of the remaining global carbon budget for limiting global warming to 1.5°C"

Background Science

Plastic Recycling greenwash exposed 

Centre for Climate Integrity, February 2024, The Fraud of Plastic Recycling. How Big Oil and the plastics industry deceived the public for decades and caused the plastic waste crisis.

Plastic producers have known for more than 30 years that recycling is not an economically or technically feasible plastic waste management solution. That has not stopped them from promoting it, according to a new report. “The companies lied,” said Richard Wiles, president of fossil-fuel accountability advocacy group the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), which published the report.(Guardian)

See also: Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work (May 2022, The Atlantic). Story by Judith Enck, a former US EPA regional administrator, the president of Beyond Plastics, and a visiting professor at Bennington College; and Jan Dell, a chemical engineer and the founder of the Last Beach Cleanup. Articulates:

  • "The problem with recycling plastic lies not with the concept or process but with the material itself."
  • "toxicity risks in recycled plastic prohibit “the vast majority of plastic products and packaging produced” from being recycled into food-grade packaging."
  • "plastic recycling is simply not economical. Recycled plastic costs more than new plastic because collecting, sorting, transporting, and reprocessing plastic waste is exorbitantly expensive."
  • "Chemical recycling is not viable. It has failed and will continue to fail for the same down-to-earth, real-world reasons that the conventional mechanical recycling of plastics has consistently failed. Worse yet, its toxic emissions could cause new harm to our environment, climate, and health."

See also IPEN report from 2021: Widespread chemical contamination of recycled plastic pellets globally. This examined pellets made from recycled high-density polyethylene, intended for use in new products, purchased from 24 recycling facilities in 23 countries. The pellets were analyzed to determine the presence of 18 substances, representing three types of toxic chemicals: 11 brominated flame retardants, 6 benzotriazole UV stabilizers and bisphenol A. None of the samples were free from all the targeted chemicals, and 21 samples contained all three types of chemicals. More than half of the samples contained 11 or more chemicals, and 17 samples contained five or more endocrine disrupting chemicals.

"Study shows widespread contamination of recycled plastic pellets with toxic chemicals. It is likely that is in part due to the use of electronic waste and polycarbonate plastics as source materials, but also due to the widespread of use of toxic chemicals in plastics in general. These pellets are unacceptable for use as raw material when producing new products, especially products that can expose children to these chemicals." 

See also: Geueke B, Phelps DW, Parkinson LV, Muncke J. Hazardous chemicals in recycled and reusable plastic food packaging. Cambridge Prisms: Plastics. (22 May 2023) ;1:e7. doi:10.1017/plc.2023.7

See also: Andrew Turner, Black plastics: Linear and circular economies, hazardous additives and marine pollution, Environment International, Volume 117, 2018, Pages 308-318, ISSN 0160-4120, (

Climate Impact of Plastics (2024)

Nihan Karali, Nina Khanna, Nihar Shah, Climate Impact of Primary Plastic Production, (April 2024) Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems Energy Analysis and Environment Impacts DivisionLawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,

 "Under a conservative growth scenario (2.5%/yr), GHG emissions from primary plastic production would more than double to 4.75 GtCO2e by 2050, accounting for 21-26% of the remaining global carbon budget to keep average temperature increases below 1.5°C. At 4%/yr growth, emissions from primary plastic production would increase more than three times to 6.78 GtCO2e, accounting for 25-31% of the remaining global carbon budget for limiting global warming to 1.5°C"

See Also: Chen, Xuejing, Kristen McDonald, Madeline Rose, Pacific Environment, 23 May 2023, “Stemming the Plastic-Climate Crisis: Paris Alignment for Plastics Requires at least 75% Reduction,”, . See Plastics and the Climate Crisis (Climate Citizen) from INC2.

The Global Plastcs Treaty presents a historic opportunity to address the plastc crisis that is engulfng our planet and warming our climate. We need a Global Plastcs Treaty that commits to plastc reducton in line with a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature change scenario, frst and foremost through reducing plastc. And we need our natonal governments to beter regulate the petrochemicals and plastcs industries under climate commitments. Our report shows that two key pathways are needed to put the industry on a 1.5 degree Celsius compatble pathway:

  • Plastc must be reduced by at least 75% by 2050. This includes phasing out single-use plastc by 2040 and curbing durable plastc.
  • We must end plastc incineraton (and any plastc burning, including in cement kilns and chemical recycling) and require remaining plastc products be produced with greener feedstocks (such as green hydrogen) and 100% renewable energy.

Linear relationship between plastic production and pollution. (2024)

Win Cowger et al. ,Global producer responsibility for plastic pollution.Sci. Adv.10,eadj8275(2024).DOI:10.1126/sciadv.adj827

Based on 5 year data from 84 countries, it found "...The top five brands globally were The Coca-Cola Company (11%), PepsiCo (5%), Nestlé (3%), Danone (3%), and Altria (2%), accounting for 24% of the total branded count, and 56 companies accounted for more than 50%. There was a clear and strong log-log linear relationship production (%) = pollution (%) between companies’ annual production of plastic and their branded plastic pollution, with food and beverage companies being disproportionately large polluters. Phasing out single-use and short-lived plastic products by the largest polluters would greatly reduce global plastic pollution."

University of Birmingham. "Toxic chemicals from microplastics can be absorbed through skin." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2024.

Toxic chemicals used to flame-proof plastic materials can be absorbed into the body through skin, via contact with microplastics, new research shows.

Microplastics are everywhere — we need to understand how they affect human health (2024)

(Editorial) Nat Med 30, 913 (19 April 2024).

Microplastics and digestive pathways to organs. (2024)

Journal Reference: Ovokeroye Akpojevwe Abafe, Stuart Harrad, Mohamed Abou-Elwafa Abdallah. Assessment of human dermal absorption of flame retardant additives in polyethylene and polypropylene microplastics using 3D human skin equivalent models. Environment International, 2024; 186: 108635 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2024.108635

University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. "Microplastics make their way from the gut to other organs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2024. .

Researchers have found that microplastics -- are having a significant impact on our digestive pathways, making their way from the gut and into the tissues of the kidney, liver and brain.

Microplastics link to heart attacks and strokes. (2024)

Science News, 2 April 2024, A new study has linked microplastics to heart attacks and strokes. Here’s what we know See also at The Conversation, 19 March 2024, Study links microplastics with human health problems – but there’s still a lot we don’t know

Nanoplastics in bottled water, (2024)

Qian, Naixin et al, Rapid single-particle chemical imaging of nanoplastics by SRS microscopy, 8 January 2024, PNAS, Vol 121, 3, doi:10.1073/pnas.2300582121,

Researchers found that, on average, a liter of bottled water included about 240,000 tiny pieces of plastic. About 90% of these plastic fragments were nanoplastics.

Commission on Plastics and Human Health. (2023)

Landrigan et al, 21 March 2023, The Minderoo-Monaco Commission on Plastics and Human Health, Annals of Global Health, The scientists and researchers made specific recommendations for the Plastics Treaty:

This Commission urges that a cap on global plastic production with targets, timetables, and national contributions be a central provision of the Global Plastics Treaty. We recommend inclusion of the following additional provisions:

The Treaty needs to extend beyond microplastics and marine litter to include all of the many thousands of chemicals incorporated into plastics.

The Treaty needs to include a provision banning or severely restricting manufacture and use of unnecessary, avoidable, and problematic plastic items, especially single-use items such as manufactured plastic microbeads.

The Treaty needs to include requirements on extended producer responsibility (EPR) that make fossil carbon producers, plastic producers, and the manufacturers of plastic products legally and financially responsible for the safety and end-of-life management of all the materials they produce and sell.

The Treaty needs to mandate reductions in the chemical complexity of plastic products; health-protective standards for plastics and plastic additives; a requirement for use of sustainable non-toxic materials; full disclosure of all components; and traceability of components. International cooperation will be essential to implementing and enforcing these standards.

The Treaty needs to include SEJ remedies at each stage of the plastic life cycle designed to fill gaps in community knowledge and advance both distributional and procedural equity.

This Commission encourages inclusion in the Global Plastic Treaty of a provision calling for exploration of listing at least some plastic polymers as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) under the Stockholm Convention.

This Commission encourages a strong interface between the Global Plastics Treaty and the Basel and London Conventions to enhance management of hazardous plastic waste and slow current massive exports of plastic waste into the world’s least-developed countries.

This Commission recommends the creation of a Permanent Science Policy Advisory Body to guide the Treaty’s implementation. The main priorities of this Body would be to guide Member States and other stakeholders in evaluating which solutions are most effective in reducing plastic consumption, enhancing plastic waste recovery and recycling, and curbing the generation of plastic waste. This Body could also assess trade-offs among these solutions and evaluate safer alternatives to current plastics. It could monitor the transnational export of plastic waste. It could coordinate robust oceanic-, land-, and air-based MNP monitoring programs.

This Commission recommends urgent investment by national governments in research into solutions to the global plastic crisis. This research will need to determine which solutions are most effective and cost-effective in the context of particular countries and assess the risks and benefits of proposed solutions. Oceanographic and environmental research is needed to better measure concentrations and impacts of plastics <10 µm and understand their distribution and fate in the global environment. Biomedical research is needed to elucidate the human health impacts of plastics, especially MNPs.

Conclusions: The Minderoo-Monaco Commission on Plastics and Human Health finds that plastics are both a boon to humanity and a stealth threat to human and planetary health. Plastics convey enormous benefits, but current linear patterns of plastic production, use, and disposal with little attention paid to sustainable design or safe materials and a near absence of recovery, reuse, and recycling are responsible for grave harms to health, widespread environmental damage, great economic costs, and deep societal injustices. These harms are rapidly worsening.

While there remain gaps in knowledge about plastics’ harms and uncertainties about their full magnitude, the evidence available today demonstrates unequivocally that these impacts are great and that they will increase in severity in the absence of urgent and effective intervention at global scale. Manufacture and use of essential plastics may continue. But reckless increases in plastic production, and especially increases in the manufacture of an ever-increasing array of unnecessary single-use plastic products, need to be curbed. 

Global intervention against the plastic crisis is needed now, because the costs of failure to act will be immense.

Microplastics affect on cancer cells. (2023)

Live Science, March 2023, 'Very concerning': Microplastics can accumulate in cancer cells and may help them spread, study hints

Microplastics in placentas could affect all mammalian life. (2024)

Marcus A Garcia, Rui Liu, Alex Nihart, Eliane El Hayek, Eliseo Castillo, Enrico R Barrozo, Melissa A Suter, Barry Bleske, Justin Scott, Kyle Forsythe, Jorge Gonzalez-Estrella, Kjersti M Aagaard, Matthew J Campen, Quantitation and identification of microplastics accumulation in human placental specimens using pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry, Toxicological Sciences, 2024;, kfae021, 

Prof Matthew Campen, at the University of New Mexico, US, who led the research, said: “If we are seeing effects on placentas, then all mammalian life on this planet could be impacted. That’s not good.” He said the growing concentration of microplastics in human tissue could explain puzzling increases in some health problems, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), colon cancer in people under 50, and declining sperm counts. A 2021 study found people with IBD had 50% more microplastics in their faeces. (Guardian, 27 Feb 2024)

Migrating chemicals in food packaging (including plastics)

Geueke, B., Groh, K. J., Maffini, M. V., Martin, O. V., Boucher, J. M., Chiang, Y. T., … Muncke, J. (2023). Systematic evidence on migrating and extractable food contact chemicals: Most chemicals detected in food contact materials are not listed for use. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 63(28), 9425–9435.

Summarizes the detections of BPA in food packaging.

Neurotoxicity of micro- and nanoplastics (2020)

Prüst, M., Meijer, J. & Westerink, R.H.S. The plastic brain: neurotoxicity of micro- and nanoplastics. Part Fibre Toxicol 17, 24 ( June 2020).

"Current evidence indicates that micro- and nanoplastics can be taken up by aquatic organism as well as by mammals. Upon uptake, micro- and nanoplastics can reach the brain, although there is limited information regarding the number of particles that reaches the brain and the potential neurotoxicity of these small plastic particles. ... exposure to micro- and nanoplastics can induce oxidative stress, potentially resulting in cellular damage and an increased vulnerability to develop neuronal disorders. Additionally, exposure to micro- and nanoplastics can result in inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity and altered neurotransmitter levels, which both may contribute to the reported behavioral changes. ...a systematic comparison of the neurotoxic effects of different particle types, shapes, sizes at different exposure concentrations and durations is lacking, but urgently needed to further elucidate the neurotoxic hazard and risk of exposure to micro- and nanoplastics."

Plastic Pollution impact on ocean embryos (2024)

University of Exeter, 18 April 2024, Plastic pollution can kill variety of ocean embryos ttps://

Previous Reports on the Negotiations

INC1 - December 2022 - Australia and Negotiations for a Global Plastics Treaty and reduce plastic pollution in the marine environment

INC2 - May 2023 - Australia at Global Plastics Treaty negotiations in Paris #INC2

INC3 - November 2023 - Global Plastics Treaty INC3 in Nairobi starts from a Zero Draft, ends with Petro States blocking and delaying progress

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