9 May 2024

UN treaty seeks to tackle plastic pollution

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 9 May 2024
Microplastics on the beach.

Photo: 123RF

A UN global plastics treaty is being compared to the Paris accord on climate, but proponents of a strong agreement are raising concerns about the influence of lobbyists on the process. 

The fourth of five negotiations concluded in Ottawa last week.

The ubiquity of plastics has resulted not only in widespread global pollution, but is raising concerns about human health.

Microplastics have been identified in human placentas and breast milk.

Kathryn speaks with Professor Steve Fletcher director of the Revolution Plastics Institute at the University of Portsmouth, who attended the UN global plastic treaty; paediatrician and plastics researcher with the Australian-based not-for-profit Minderoo Foundation, Dr Christos Symeonides; and University of Canterbury Toxicology Professor Ian Shaw, who is seeking more funding to investigate a potential link between microplastics and a rise in bowel cancer in people under 50.