Plastic offers extraordinary properties and its use dominates the modern life. However, these benefits carry challenges with mismanaged plastic waste that turns into important plastic pollution. As a consequence, plastic is found everywhere, from nearby surrounding areas to the most remote places in the Arctic. With plastic production steadily rising and predicted to double within the next 20 years, action to stop plastic pollution is needed now more than ever.
In response to this, GRID-Arendal is supporting two working groups of the Basel Convention: the Partnership on Plastic Waste (PWP) working group (WG) and the small intersessional working group (SIWG) on plastic wastes. The main aim of the working groups is to improve and promote the environmentally sound management of plastic waste at the global, regional and national levels and prevent and minimize their generation so as to, among other things, reduce significantly and in the long-term eliminate the discharge of plastic waste and microplastics into the environment, in particular the marine environment.
In 2020 GRID-Arendal developed the Plastic Waste Background report on behalf of the PWP working group. The report has been developed to support the Partnership and its working groups at their first face-to-face meeting by providing a brief baseline study on plastic value chain and the fate of plastics. The report specifically intends to provide with the latest data on plastic waste related issues and point out to the gaps to establish a baseline level.
Furthermore, GRID-Arendal has supported the SIWG since November 2019 in updating the 2002 technical guidelines on the identification and environmentally sound management of plastic wastes and for their disposal. These technical guidelines provide guidance on the environmentally sound management (ESM) of plastic wastes, pursuant to decision BC-14/13 of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.