Greenland supports global standards to end plastic pollution | Polarjournal
A catamaran is towed alongside the icebreaker Polarstern for a survey of plastic pollution in the Arctic Ocean (Photo: AWI / Esther Horvath / Robex)

Greenland has joined a group of 30 countries that are pushing for a treaty that would put an end to plastic litter by 2040. The group supports including measures such as global standards, bans and restrictions on plastic use in a forthcoming UN treaty to address the problem. Greenland’s decision to join comes as countries prepare to meet in Uruguay at the end of November for the first round of negotiations that are hoped to lead to a treating being drafted by 2024.

By joining the High Ambition Coalition To End Plastic Pollution, Greenland has rejected a competing, American-initiated, approach that calls for the treaty to allow individual countries to set national goals, in a fashion similar to the 2015 Paris climate agreement, according to Reuters, a news agency.

The High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution describes itself as being committed to developing an “ambitious international legally binding instrument based on a comprehensive and circular approach that ensures urgent action and effective interventions along the full lifecycle of plastics”.

Joining the group, according to Kalistat Lund, Greenland’s environment minister, is a sign of the country’s commitment to ending plastic pollution. “Plastic litter is bad for the environment and bad for our health,” he said in a statement.

Greenland’s decision to join the coalition comes as it prepares for new rules to take effect on 1 November that would ban the sale of single-use plastic items. It has previously adopted measures that seek to reduce the use of plastic in hunting and fishing gear as a way to reduce the amount of plastic litter.

Future initiatives for reducing plastic litter being looked into by the government include finding alternatives to bucket toilets (which collect waste in plastic bags that are set out for collection by sanitation workers) in areas without sewerage, reducing plastic pollution from artificial turf on football pitches and making it easier for fishermen to dispose of plastic waste.

Kevin McGwin, PolarJournal
Featured image: Julia Hager

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