Late last year we wrote to the Prime Minister urging Australia to support an international treaty to address marine plastic pollution. We pointed to a precedent for such a treaty, the Montreal Protocol. That protocol, on which Australia played a leading role successfully curtailed the global use of CFCs to stop further damage to the ozone layer.
In 2017 the United Nations Environment Assembly established an expert group (AHEG) to investigate the issues of marine plastics and microplastics pollution of the oceans. At the final meeting of the AHEG group concerns were expressed at the accelerating rate of plastic pollution, made worse by the COVID pandemic. Two thirds of UN members nations have indicated an interest in a global treaty and one quarter have gone further and urged that negotiations should begin on such a treaty.
A global petition (www.plasticpollutiontreaty.org) has already gathered over 2 million signatures and the support of over 28 international corporations, many directly involved in plastics and packaging manufacture.
Included in the Commonwealth National Plastics Plan (March 2021) was confirmation that Australia will support a new global agreement to address marine plastic pollution. The Commonwealth has already committed $100 M to a Pacific Litter initiative and will also work with Indonesia to assist with plastic waste and litter reductions.
We will be working with other peak groups on the most effective contents of a treaty.