The European Union has reached an agreement to stop the export of plastic waste
The European Union (EU) has signed an agreement to stop the export of plastic waste to various poor countries worldwide. European lawmakers and member states signed the deal on January 08, 2024.
According to the agreement, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of mostly rich countries, has agreed to ban the export of plastic waste to foreign countries from mid-2026.
The agreement was reached during a meeting of diplomats in Nairobi, Kenya for a global agreement on plastic pollution.
Pernil Weiss, a Danish member of the Centre-right EPP group in the European Parliament, put forward the proposal. He said, “The EU will ultimately take responsibility for plastic waste by banning exports to non-OECD countries.”
We believe that waste is also a resource if used properly. However, this should not harm the environment or human health.’ The rules need formal approval by the European Council and Parliament before they can come into force.
According to the agreement, stricter controls should be imposed on the export of plastic waste by rich countries and exports to non-OECD countries should be completely stopped.
But after five years, countries that want to import EU plastic waste can request the EU Commission to lift the ban. But they have to prove that they will make proper use of these wastes.
Environmentalists have expressed concern that plastic waste exported abroad for recycling ends up on roadsides or canals.
Lauren Weir, the campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: ‘This is an improvement on current obligations, while at the same time plastic waste’
Lauren Weir, campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: ‘This is an improvement on the current obligations, while also demonstrating the need for a complete ban on plastic waste. It signals that the EU is finally starting to take responsibility for the global plastic pollution emergency.’
Under the new rules, some non-plastic waste can still be exported to non-OECD countries, provided they meet certain social and environmental criteria. It is also feared that the law could lead to an increase in waste sent to OECD countries such as Turkey.
Sedat Gundogdu, a microplastics researcher at Cukurova University in Turkey, said, “Banning the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries is an important decision.
It’s disappointing that Turkey doesn’t have a complete ban on exporting hazardous and mixed plastic waste, especially since it is the largest importer of such waste in the EU and a member of the OECD.
He also said that partial bans and ineffective control systems don’t deter the illegal export of plastic waste, based on past lessons.