Global Alliance Urges Leaders to Address Plastic Pollution Crisis Ahead of Plastics Treaty Negotiations

by Ikem Emmanuel

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) has called on world leaders to take decisive action in addressing the plastic pollution crisis and the associated health and rights issues facing communities. In a press statement released ahead of the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on plastic pollution, GAIA emphasized the critical role of the negotiations in combating plastic pollution globally.

The alliance highlighted the urgent need to tackle waste colonialism, the illegal export of waste from economically powerful countries to lower-income nations ill-equipped to handle such waste. GAIA expressed concern about the extensive trade of plastic garbage to regions like Latin America and the Caribbean, emphasizing the need for a reduction in plastic production to combat waste colonialism effectively.

GAIA representatives stressed that the negotiations offer an opportunity not only to address environmental concerns but also to safeguard the health and rights of individuals and communities. They called for a focus on reducing plastic production, implementing effective recycling measures, and preventing the illegal export of waste.

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Speakers emphasized the need to correct the narrative that unfairly blames the Global South for the plastic crisis, pointing out the significant role of the Global North in both plastic production and the export of toxic plastic waste to developing nations. GAIA/BFFP Africa Plastics Campaigner, Merrisa Naidoo, highlighted the ongoing impact of colonialism in the form of waste trade on the African continent.

The alliance advocated for a global plastics trade tracking system, trade bans on plastics post-phase-out, and strengthening regulations to halt the dumping of mixed plastic wastes in the Global South. Delegates from the Global South called for comprehensive measures, including reducing plastic production, discontinuing harmful technologies like incineration, and adopting transparent chemical use practices.


GAIA stressed the importance of a just transition, mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility, and a commitment to translating policies into operational regulations. The alliance urged leaders to prioritize human rights and justice in crafting a global plastics treaty, recognizing the role of petrochemicals in plastics and mandating a reduction in production.

As the world prepares for the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, GAIA’s call for a comprehensive and just approach to address the plastic pollution crisis underscores the significance of global cooperation and commitment to safeguarding the environment and communities worldwide.

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