Skip to main content
Lasque Tiarc

UN plastics treaty: Protesters call for an end to plastic pollution as UN treaty negotiations start in Ottawa

Vaseline 2 months ago

More than 100 people marched from Parliament Hill on Sunday as United Nations delegates were set to meet in Ottawa the week of Earth Day to discuss how to eliminate plastic waste.

More than 4,000 delegates and 176 countries are coming to the capital in hopes of forging a legally binding global treaty to eliminate plastic waste by 2040.

With the fourth of five rounds of negotiations set to take place this week, the aim is to have a deal completed by the end of the year.

Protesters called for an end to plastic pollution.

“I think it is imperative that Indigenous voices, especially here in Canada, are at the forefront of these treaty negotiations. We are not interested parties. We are the people of the land. We are the scientists. We are the knowledge keepers. ” says Ginwkwe, knowledge keeper at the Society of Native Nations.

The use of plastic has increased dramatically over the past decade. Rick Smith, president of the Canadian Climate Institute, says half of all the plastic ever produced was made in the last 15 years.

“There is so much plastic waste in the environment now and one of the main issues with plastic now is that we are actually absorbing it into our bodies,” Smith said.

Its impact on nature and growing health concerns are driving a drive to get rid of plastic waste and eliminate problematic chemicals used to make it.

“There is a lot of agreement among the countries gathered here that we need to tackle the problem and find solutions, because waste management systems around the world are overwhelmed,” Smith said.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, plastic production and waste is expected to triple by 2060.

But less than 10 percent of the plastic used around the world is recycled. Here in Canada, 80 percent ends up in the landfill or as waste for someone else to pick up.

Daniel Whiting and his two daughters were among dozens of volunteers who got a flying start on Earth Day by collecting waste.

“We’ve only been here maybe 15 minutes and I have a full bag and they both already have two full bags,” Whiting said.

Delegates will begin negotiations on Tuesday and are expected to last seven days.