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UK Strengthens Pledge to End Plastic Pollution by 2040

The UK, alongside 52 other members of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) to End Plastic Pollution, has signed a far-reaching Ministerial Statement, calling for an ambitious global plastic pollution treaty to tackle plastic pollution and protect the marine environment.

The HAC is a coalition of over 50 governments that have since agreed to end plastic pollution by 2040.

The Joint Ministerial Statement, published today, calls for a range of mandatory provisions to be included in the global plastic pollution treaty, currently under negotiation. These include reducing the production and consumption of primary plastic polymers to sustainable levels; eliminating and restricting unnecessary, avoidable or problematic plastics, chemicals and products; and eliminating the release of plastics into nature, amongst others.

The statement comes ahead of the second Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) taking place in Paris next week and sets out the HAC’s key ambitions for INC-2, taking the UK one step further towards the ambition of ending plastic pollution by 2040.

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats that we currently face and is interlinked with climate change and biodiversity loss. This Joint Ministerial Statement builds on the UK government’s commitment to help to develop an ambitious, international legally binding treaty that demands urgent action on plastics and drives forward our mission to protect at least 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

“Plastic pollution continues to have a devastating effect on our world’s ocean, people and the wider environment. That’s why it’s more important than ever to step up, take action and drive forward the change needed to bring an end to plastic pollution globally.

I am proud to be amongst other HAC members signing this statement that calls for ambitious new measures within the global plastics treaty and look forward to some productive and high-reaching discussions in the upcoming INC-2 meeting in Paris.”

The HAC statement builds on the UK’s wider commitments and work to protect and enhance the marine environment.

Earlier this year, delivering on the Environmental Improvement Plan the government announced the designation of the first three Highly Protected Marine Areas in English waters and launched a consultation on proposed management measures for sandeel fishing with the aim to reduce further negative impacts on important marine biodiversity.

Building on our existing single-use plastic bans and carrier bag charge, the Government is introducing further bans from October on a range of single-use plastic items – including plates, cutlery, balloon sticks and expanded and extruded polystyrene drinks containers. In April, we also announced that we will ban the sale of wet wipes containing plastic subject to public consultation.

The INC- 2 meeting taking place in Paris is the second out of five sessions with United Nations member states. A global plastic pollution treaty is hoped to be finalised by the end of 2024.


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