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May 2 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


Plastic pollution has emerged as a global environmental crisis, with detrimental impacts on ecosystems, human health, and climate.  

  • Recognizing the urgency of addressing this issue, the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) initiated negotiations for a global plastics treaty.  
  • Despite significant efforts, the recent fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) failed to reach an agreement.  
  • This setback highlights the complexities and challenges inherent in crafting a comprehensive international framework to combat plastic pollution.  
  • India, as a key participant in the negotiations, has articulated its stance and priorities at INC-4, reflecting its commitment to sustainable development and environmental protection. 


Rapid Expansion of Plastic Production: 

  • Plastic production has witnessed exponential growth since the 1950s, escalating from 2 million tonnes in 1950 to over 450 million tonnes in 2019. 
  • Projections indicate a doubling of production by 2050, exacerbating the plastic waste crisis and environmental degradation. 
  • Despite its versatility, plastic’s longevity poses significant challenges, with less than 10% being recycled globally. 

Plastic Waste and Burden: 

  • The accumulation of plastic waste, estimated at nearly 6 billion tonnes, poses a severe burden on the environment. 
  • Approximately 400 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated annually, with projections indicating a 62% increase by 2050. 
  • Plastic pollution infiltrates ecosystems, particularly oceans, where it breaks down into microplastics, endangering marine life and ecosystems. 

Climate Change Impact: 

  • Plastic production and disposal contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through fossil fuel utilization. 
  • Plastics generated 1.8 billion tonnes of GHG emissions in 2019, accounting for 3.4% of global emissions. 
  • Continued reliance on plastics is projected to increase emissions by 20% by 2050, exacerbating climate change impacts. 

Objectives of Global Plastic Treaty: 

  • The global plastics treaty aims to address marine and environmental pollution caused by plastics. 
  • It seeks to establish global objectives for combating plastic pollution and assessing its ecological impacts. 
  • The treaty may outline guidelines for international cooperation, prohibitions on specific plastics, and targets for recycling and recycled content in consumer goods. 

Challenges in Advancing the Treaty: 

  • Resistance from oil and gas giants, which oppose production caps and advocate for a focus solely on waste management. 
  • Polarizing negotiations characterized by disputes over plastic production limitations and procedural delays. 
  • Divergent approaches among nations, with the High Ambition Coalition advocating for ambitious goals and the US promoting voluntary measures. 
  • Influence of industry interests, with fossil fuel and chemical corporations lobbying to dilute the treaty’s effectiveness. 

India’s Stance at INC-4: 

  • India emphasizes principles of equity, sustainable development, and common but differentiated responsibilities in treaty negotiations. 
  • Opposes limitations on primary plastic polymers and advocates for transparent decision-making processes informed by scientific evidence. 
  • Advocates for sustainable plastic usage and improved waste management practices, prioritizing national approaches over international mandates. 
  • Expresses concerns regarding emissions during plastic manufacturing and recycling stages, urging a focus on waste leakage prevention. 

Global Initiatives Related to Plastic: 

  • UNEP Plastics Initiative focuses on reducing virgin plastics flow and promoting circular economy practices. 
  • Global Tourism Plastics Initiative unites stakeholders to combat plastic pollution in the tourism sector. 
  • Circular Plastic Economy strategies, such as those implemented by the EU, aim to minimize plastic waste through circularity principles. 
  • Several countries have implemented bans on single-use plastics, while others have enacted regulations to manage plastic waste effectively. 

India’s Efforts in Plastic Waste Management: 

  • Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2024, aim to regulate plastic waste generation, collection, segregation, and recycling. 
  • The Plastics Manufacture and Usage (Amendment) Rules (2003) set standards for plastic manufacturing and usage. 
  • UNDP India’s Plastic Waste Management Program (2018-2024) focuses on promoting sustainable plastic waste management practices. 
  • Initiatives like Prakrit, EPR Portal by CPCB, India Plastics Pact, Project REPLAN, and Swachh Bharat Mission aim to address plastic pollution through various interventions. 


The global plastic treaty negotiations represent a critical step towards addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by plastic pollution.  

Despite the complexities and challenges involved, concerted international efforts, informed by science and guided by principles of sustainability and equity, are essential to safeguarding the planet and future generations from the adverse impacts of plastic pollution.  

India’s active participation and advocacy for inclusive and science-based decision-making underscore its commitment to addressing this global environmental crisis. 


May 2
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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