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It was adopted at the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) in Nairobi, attended virtually and in person by more than 5,000 people.

Its goal is to create a legally binding agreement by 2024. But work begins immediately on international cooperation to address the full lifecycle of plastics.

“With a timeline that is as ambitious as it is utterly necessary, I have tremendous hope that the potential of this commitment today can have a significant, far-reaching impact on what kind of planet we leave for the generations to come,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “We stand by to support countries to address plastic pollution while improving human health and livelihoods and empowering local communities towards a shared resolution to end plastic pollution.”

The agreement comes not a moment too soon.

Even before COVID-19 we were besieged by the plastic we mostly use just once.

A recent UN report estimated that while 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, only 9 percent is recycled. The rest is thrown away.

Except there is no ‘away’.

From the depths of the Mariana Trench to the top of Mount Everest, plastic is literally everywhere. It’s estimated that between 5 million and 13 million metric tonnes enter the ocean every year.

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