Insights from international environmental legislation and protocols for the global plastic treaty

Margrethe Aanesen*, Julide C. Ahi, Tenaw G. Abate, Farhan R. Khan, Frans P. de Vries, Hauke Kite-Powell, Nicola J. Beaumont

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Plastic pollution has emerged as a global challenge necessitating collective efforts to mitigate its adverse environmental consequences. International negotiations are currently underway to establish a global plastic treaty. Emphasizing the need for solution-orientated research, rather than focusing on further defining the problems of widespread environmental occurrence and ecological impacts, this paper extracts insights and draws key patterns that are relevant for these international negotiations. The analysis reveals that (i) environmental rather than human health concerns have been the predominant driving force behind previous regulations targeting pollutants, and (ii) the decision to ban or discontinue the use of harmful pollutants is primarily affected by the availability of viable substitutes. These two key findings are relevant to the discussions of the ongoing Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on the global plastic treaty and underscore the recognition of environmental consequences associated with plastic pollution while emphasizing the need to enhance the knowledge base of potential human health risks. Leveraging the availability of substitutes can significantly contribute to the development and implementation of effective strategies aimed at reducing plastic usage and corresponding pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2750
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


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