End Plastic Pollution
© naturepl.com / Tui De Roy / WWF

End Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution is deadly. It needs to be stopped!

Plastic pollution is everywhere, but nowhere more than in the ocean.

More than 11 million metric tons of plastic are flowing into the ocean each year. Once it is there, it’s almost impossible to remove. And it continues to break down. Macroplastics become microplastics, and microplastics become nanoplastics.  

It’s not good for people, or the planet. 

© naturepl.com / Tony Wu / WWF

For marine life, it is catastrophic 

It’s been estimated that 90% of all seabirds ingest plastic at some point in their lives. Starting as chicks.

More than half the world’s marine mammal species, including dolphins, whales and seals, have been found to have eaten plastic. As have all species of sea turtles.

Not all of them die, but all of them suffer from it.      

It’s not just the plastic they eat. Entanglement, smothering and slow poisoning from leached chemicals, all cause sickness, weakness, injury, and death. 

Plastic in the ocean is pervasive and increasing.

The time has come to end it. 

© Shutterstock /Lycia Walter /WWF

Plastic pollution is a global problem

It needs a global solution.

The third round of UN global plastic pollution treaty concluded on 19 November with no plan for how to move the negotiations forward, despite a majority of countries supporting a robust treaty grounded in global rules.

The deadlock was caused by a week full of delaying tactics from a handful of low-ambition countries calling for a loose voluntary agreement. 

Proposals for voluntary national measures and a sole focus on waste management will only continue to increase the burden for the countries that are today the hardest hit by the plastic pollution crisis. A global treaty with binding rules for elimination and safe circulation of plastics, along with robust financial support, is our best hope for the level playing field which is desperately needed if we are to to tackle the challenges felt by people and the environment in the Global South.

With only two negotiating sessions left to agree on a global plastics treaty before the end of 2024, countries must make the most of the time leading up to the Ottawa talks in April 2024 to mobilise the political support and prepare the technical basis needed to make the meeting a turning point in the negotiations.

Tell the New Zealand Government you want them to be bold and ambitious and commit to end plastic pollution by 2040.

In March 2022, UN Member States agreed on a mandate to negotiate a legally binding global treaty to end plastic pollution.

This year, the framework is being negotiated throughout a series of meetings across the globe, with the aim of having it in place by the end of 2024.

The draft treaty released in September is the first time countries have put to paper what the global plastics treaty should look like and comes at the midway point of negotiations – it lands ahead of the third round of talks out of a total of five.

Although in the minority, there are some powerful opponents of global rules and standards, potentially weakening obligations on countries to take action. 

The New Zealand Government needs to commit to helping deliver a truly ambitious treaty with effective global measures. 

Sign the petition to tell them that New Zealanders want a strong Treaty that will stop plastic pollution by 2040.

© naturepl.com / Enrique Lopez-Tapia / WWF

Global rules to solve a global crisis

Despite the exponential growth in voluntary initiatives and national regulations to tackle plastic pollution, there is no sign that leakage rates are slowing. In order to effectively deal with the plastic crisis, the world needs common rules and standards that address plastic throughout its entire lifecycle. 

What does an effective Global Plastics Treaty need to contain?  

Read WWF’s reports "Towards a Treaty to End Plastic Pollution: Global rules to solve a global problem";  "Putting an end to plastic pollution: WWF's call to urgently regulate high-risk plastic products"; and "Who pays for plastic pollution? Enabling global equity in the plastic value chain"