Saturday May 25, 2019

Countries Across Globe Unite For Establishing Legal Laws To Reduce Plastic Polluting Environment

The agreement is likely to lead to customs agents being on the lookout for electronic waste or other types of potentially hazardous waste more than before.

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A man guides a raft through a polluted canal littered with plastic bags and other garbage in Mumbai, India, Oct. 2, 2016. VOA

Nearly every country in the world has agreed upon a legally binding framework to reduce the pollution from plastic waste except for the United States, U.N. environmental officials say.

An agreement on tracking thousands of types of plastic waste emerged Friday at the end of a two-week meeting of U.N.-backed conventions on plastic waste and toxic, hazardous chemicals.

Discarded plastic clutters pristine land, floats in huge masses in oceans and rivers and entangles wildlife, sometimes with deadly results.

Rolph Payet of the United Nations Environment Program said the “historic” agreement linked to the 186-country, U.N.-supported Basel Convention means that countries will have to monitor and track the movements of plastic waste outside their borders.

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Countries will have to figure out their own ways of adhering to the accord, Payet said. Even the few countries that did not sign it, like the United States, could be affected by the accord when they ship plastic waste to countries that are on board with the deal. Pixabay

The deal affects products used in a broad array of industries, such as health care, technology, aerospace, fashion, food and beverages.

“It’s sending a very strong political signal to the rest of the world — to the private sector, to the consumer market — that we need to do something,” Payet said. “Countries have decided to do something which will translate into real action on the ground.”

Countries will have to figure out their own ways of adhering to the accord, Payet said. Even the few countries that did not sign it, like the United States, could be affected by the accord when they ship plastic waste to countries that are on board with the deal.

Payet credited Norway for leading the initiative, which first was presented in September. The time from that proposal to the approval of a deal set a blistering pace by traditional U.N. standards for such an accord.

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“It’s sending a very strong political signal to the rest of the world — to the private sector, to the consumer market — that we need to do something,” Payet said. “Countries have decided to do something which will translate into real action on the ground.” Pixabay

The framework “is historic in the sense that it is legally binding,” Payet said. “They (the countries) have managed to use an existing international instrument to put in place those measures.”

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The agreement is likely to lead to customs agents being on the lookout for electronic waste or other types of potentially hazardous waste more than before.

“There is going to be a transparent and traceable system for the export and import of plastic waste,” Payet said. (VOA)

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U.S. Refuses Mention Of Climate Change, Arctic Council Meeting Stands Fail

The meeting was supposed to come up with a two-year agenda to balance the challenges of climate change with sustainable development.

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The foreign ministers pose for a picture during the Arctic Council summit in Rovaniemi on May 7. RFERL

The participants at the Arctic Council meeting in Finland’s far northern town of Rovaniemi have failed to issue a final declaration reportedly due to a U.S. refusal to mention climate change.

At the start of the council’s 11th ministerial meeting, Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said the final joint declaration was “off the table” and would be replaced by ministerial statements. He provided no explanation.

According to participants, member states were unable to reach an agreement, with the United States alone refusing to mention climate change in the final text.

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Pompeo also criticized China, which holds observer status, and Russia, slamming their “aggressive behavior” in the Arctic. VOA

Temperatures in the Arctic region are rising twice as fast as in the rest of the world, prompting the accelerated melting of the polar cap and opening huge untapped energy and mineral resources to commercial exploitation.

This is the first time the Arctic Council, which has been holding ministerial meetings every two years since 1996, failed to present a final declaration.

The meeting was supposed to come up with a two-year agenda to balance the challenges of climate change with sustainable development.

“The hang-up here right now is America making it hard to make a final agreement,” Sally Swetzof of the Aleut International Association, one of six organizations representing the Arctic’s indigenous peoples, told the media.

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According to participants, member states were unable to reach an agreement, with the United States alone refusing to mention climate change in the final text. Pixabay

The Arctic Council consists of the United States, Russia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

In a speech in Rovaniemi on the eve of the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump’s administration “shares your deep commitment to environmental stewardship” in the Arctic. But he said collective goals were not always the answer.

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“They are rendered meaningless and even counterproductive as soon as one nation fails to comply,” he said.

Pompeo also criticized China, which holds observer status, and Russia, slamming their “aggressive behavior” in the Arctic. (RFERL)