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Kenya’s largest dump is calling for a global plastics treaty
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Kenya’s largest dump is calling for a global plastics treaty

NAIROBI, February 28 (Reuters) – A short drive from Nairobi’s United Nations complex, where talks are underway on a global plastics convention, is Kenya’s largest landfill. This mountain of garbage is carpeted with single-use polyethylene.

According to official data, the equivalent of 30 trucks worth of plastic packaging, bags, and containers are tossed on to Dandora dump each day. This trend is set to worsen as global plastic pollution is expected to double in the next decade.

This global waste crisis that is destroying habitats and killing wildlife, as well as contaminating the food supply, has prompted calls for drastic action in a treaty described by many as the most important environmental agreement since the Paris Agreement.

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Hibrahim Otieno, a local official in the environment, said to Reuters at the dump that “our expectation is that when this treaty is signed countries commit to stopping the production of such plastics.”

Otieno isn’t the only one. A study that was released this month in advance of the negotiations on the treaty showed that three in four people wanted single-use plastics outlawed as soon as possible. Read more

Officials say that the most difficult issue in the talks will be how the treaty will address single-use plastic production and usage. They also discuss what elements will be legally binding and how they will be funded.

A Reuters investigation revealed earlier this month that powerful oil and chemical corporations that manufacture plastics have been urging governments not to approve provisions that could restrict their business. Read more

Since last week, industry executives and environmental pressure groups have been visiting Nairobi to observe technical-level discussions about the pact and meet with officials on the sidelines in order to make their case on key issues.

Espen Barth Eide of the United Nations Environment Assembly, which is hosting the talks, stated that this is not an antiplastics treaty. “We aren’t looking after their product as it is, but we want to make it more sustainable and circular.”

Political representatives arriving Monday must now approve the framework as drafted by technical experts. They will then launch an intergovernmental negotiations committee (INC), which will broker a final deal.

These negotiations are expected to take at most two more years, but the framework that was agreed in Nairobi is crucial to the success of the treaty.

Christina Dixon, a campaigner from the Environmental Investigation Agency, said that if the correct formulation is not achieved, the INC would be bound and limited in the elements it can consider.

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Reporting by John Geddie, Nairobi; Editing and editing by Kenneth Maxwell

Our Standards The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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