Resolution 5/14 of 2 March 2022 entitled “End plastic pollution: towards an international legally binding instrument”, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) requested the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to convene an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) with the ambition of completing negotiations by the end of 2024. The first session of the INC was held from 28 November to 2 December 2022 in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
At INC-1, AWHHE member worked with the team of NGOs members of International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN, https://ipen.org/news/ipen-plastics-treaty-inc-1-0 ). Numerous interventions from countries showed concern about the increase in plastic pollution and its impact on human health, as well as the low ability of countries to deal with these problems. For example, Armenia was among the countries which noted the importance of disclosure of information about toxic substances in plastic, followed by the establishment of restrictions and the cessation of their use; another intervention Armenia dedicated to the importance of awareness raising and public education programmes.
AWHHE supported IPEN’s advocacy stressing the issue of toxic chemicals in plastics. Numerous studies on the impact of plastic on health have come to the realization that plastic pollution is not only related to the volume of production and forms of waste. More than 10,000 different toxicities are present in plastics, at least a quarter of the human toxicity. Many of them belong to the endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Even at very low concentrations, they can lead to serious diseases, including cancer, diseases of the cardiovascular, reproductive, and endocrine systems. Examples of such substances include Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as brominated flame retardants, phthalates and bisphenols. An international agreement already in force, the Stockholm Convention on POPs, regulates a small number of such chemicals. The Basel Convention on transboundary movement of waste also has a new annex on plastics. SAICM includes strategies related to the EDCs. Therefore, participation in the plastics negotiations is important for AWHHE as it is strongly linked to the chemicals safety agenda which is one of the organization’s priorities.