USA on its own against new plastic deal

With the exception of the US, all 186 of the world’s countries in the United Nations have agreed to a new plan striving towards reducing the amount of plastic waste produced worldwide. This plan focuses on monitoring the movements of plastic waste outside the borders of each country to assure the waste of one country doesn’t drift to another.


In recent times, China has stopped accepting waste from the US due to the pollution it was causing. Since China stopped accepting recycling from the US, activists say they have observed plastic waste piling up in developing countries. The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (Gaia), a supporter of the deal, says it has found villages in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia that have “turned into dumpsites over the course of a year”.


Cited by many as a historic decision, this deal should help with the regulation of plastic in terms of both waste reduction and global trade, preventing many of the common cases of plastic polluting waters, or fatally injuring wildlife that gets trapped in it. The reoccurring image of birds and fish being caught in plastic rings or choking on hard plastic may soon be a thing of the past.

With nearly all countries in agreement on this, it can be expected that an active effort will be made across the globe to clamp down on the problems that come from plastic waste. The legally binding contract presents a smart use of the UN’s system to make each country accountable and assure all nations work together in reducing plastic waste, for both the bigger picture of the world and their own self-interests. The system will be very clear and easy for each nation to trace when it comes to importing and exporting waste.


Healthcare, technology, fashion, food/drink and aerial industries are some of the major producers of the plastics being targeted. As such, they will all be affected as the agreement will require these businesses, as well as those dealing in electronics and other hazardous waste, to be surveyed more often and far more in-depth.


There are still no step-by-step guides for all countries to follow, however, each country must figure out themselves how best to work in line with the new regulations. The country seen as leading this idea is Norway, with them proposing such ideas in September and the approval being delivered extremely fast for a UN accord.

Despite having not agreed to it, the US will be affected too when it comes to shipping waste to one of the other countries that has signed on.


There hasn’t been much word on why the US refused to sign the accord. There can be some inferences on this though, such as how America has relied on other countries such as China as an export area for their waste to remove a lot of their responsibility for the waste.


With the dedication each country is showing towards making the idea a reality, we may soon see the combined efforts of all human nations working together to reduce the plastic waste going into the oceans and renewing it in whatever way they can.

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