The agreement requires countries to monitor the movement of plastic shipped outside their territories. It also addresses the problem of developed countries sending unmanageable amounts of plastic waste to private waste-handling companies in the developing world without the consent of their governments, The Guardian explained. Now, importing countries will have the ability to say yes or no to more waste. That means the decision will still impact the U.S., since it will now have to ask permission before sending waste to most countries, CNN reported. “This is a crucial first step towards stopping the use of developing countries as a dumping ground for the world’s plastic waste, especially those coming from rich nations,” Break Free from Plastic global coordinator
The agreement was reached Friday after a two-week meeting of the Conferences of Parties (COPs) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in Geneva. It took the form of an amendment to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal, which is backed by 187 countries excluding the U.S. More than 180 governments agreed to amend the convention to include plastic waste and improve the regulation of its trade.
“Plastic waste is acknowledged as one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues, and the fact that this week close to 1 million people around the world signed a petition urging Basel Convention Parties to take action here in Geneva at the COPs is a sign that public awareness and desire for action is high,” UN Environment’s Executive Secretary of the three conventions Rolph Payet said in a press release.
Governments have amended the Basel Convention to include plastic waste in a legally-binding framework which will make global trade in plastic waste more transparent & better regulated. https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/governments-agree-landmark-decisions-protect-people-and-planet …
The agreement comes amidst growing awareness of the proliferation of plastic in the environment. There are now 100 million tonnes (approximately 110 million U.S. tons) of plastic in the oceans, and 80 to 90 percent of it comes from land, UN Environment said.
Payet told the Associated Press that the agreement was “historic” because it is “legally binding.” It also moved remarkably quickly from proposal to agreement for a UN accord.
“They (the countries) have managed to use an existing international instrument to put in place those measures,” he said.
The agreement requires countries to monitor the movement of plastic shipped outside their territories. It also addresses the problem of developed countries sending unmanageable amounts of plastic waste to private waste-handling companies in the developing world without the consent of their governments, The Guardian explained. Now, importing countries will have the ability to say yes or no to more waste. That means the decision will still impact the U.S., since it will now have to ask permission before sending waste to most countries, CNN reported.
“This is a crucial first step towards stopping the use of developing countries as a dumping ground for the world’s plastic waste, especially those coming from rich nations,” Break Free from Plastic global coordinator Von Hernandez said, as CNN reported. “Countries at the receiving end of mixed and unsorted plastic waste from foreign sources now have the right to refuse these problematic shipments, in turn compelling source countries to ensure exports of clean, recyclable plastics only.”
After China stopped accepting plastic recycling imports, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives(Gaia) said that villages in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia were “turned into dumpsites over the course of a year,” according to The Guardian.
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by Olivia Rosane, Ecowatch
In a segment on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight Sunday, the beloved science communicator riffed on the set-up of the PBS series that made him famous. Donning a lab coat and safety glasses, he proceeded to school the audience on global warming, but this time he used some very adult language.
“By the end of this century, if emissions keep rising, the average temperature on Earth could go up another four to eight degrees,” Nye said, as CNN reported. “What I’m saying is the planet’s on f***ing fire.”
Nye then proceeded to light a globe on fire with a blow torch.
“There are a lot of things we could do to put it out—are any of them free? No, of course not. Nothing’s free, you idiots. Grow the f**k up. You’re not children anymore. I didn’t mind explaining photosynthesis to you when you were 12. But you’re adults now, and this is an actually crisis, got it? Safety glasses off, motherf***ers,” he added.
“I think we’ve all broken Bill Nye,” Oliver said, as USA Today reported.
Oliver invited Nye onto his show after a discussion of the Green New Deal resolution introduced by Freshman New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey that calls for a 10-year mobilization to help the U.S. achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while promoting green jobs and environmental justice.
Nye appeared to endorse the deal in his segment, The Washington Post reported. He has also previously expressed support for Ocasio-Cortez, showing up to ask a question at her South by Southwest talk in March.
“AOC gets it,” he tweeted at the time.
Oliver also asked Nye to explain the idea of carbon pricing, as CNN reported. Nye complied, saltily:
“When we release carbon, say, by burning coal or driving an SUV, all of us pay for that in the form of things like fires, floods and crop failures,” he added. “Putting a fee on carbon creates incentives to emit less carbon, and, more importantly, it also incentivizes the development of low-carbon technology, which is huge, because that’s vital to reducing emissions globally. And because for some reason, John, you’re a 42-year-old man who needs his attention sustained by tricks, here’s some f***ing Mentos and a bottle of Diet Coke. Happy now?”
Some viewers were shocked by Nye’s tone.
“I just heard Bill Nye swear and it’s blowing my mind,” one viewer tweeted, as The Washington Post reported.
Oliver also referenced Nye’s language in a thank you tweet the next day.
“Many thanks to the fantastic Bill Nye for explaining Carbon Pricing to us with an entirely appropriate amount of profanity,” he wrote.
This isn’t the first time that Nye has used his platform to bring attention to climate change. In a 2018 interview with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for example, he questioned the leader about his approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. A 2017 documentary focused on Nye’s more recent efforts to promote science, including spreading accurate information about the threat posed by global warming.
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