Almost all the world’s countries have agreed on a deal

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  • 13 May 2019 12:00 AM
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Nearly All Countries Agree to Stem Flow of Plastic Waste Into Poor Nations

Almost all the world’s countries have agreed on a deal aimed at restricting shipments of hard-to-recycle plastic waste to poorer countries, the UN announced. Exporting countries – including the US – now will have to obtain consent from countries receiving contaminated, mixed or unrecyclable plastic waste. Currently, the US and other countries can send lower-quality plastic waste to private entities in developing countries without getting approval from their governments. Since China stopped accepting recycling from the US, activists say they have observed plastic waste piling up in developing countries. The pact comes in an amendment to the Basel Convention. The US is not a party to the Convention so it did not have a vote, but attendees at the meeting said America argued against the change, saying officials didn’t understand the repercussions it would have on the plastic waste trade. Rolph Payet of the United Nations Environment Program called the agreement – signed by 187 countries – “historic”, because countries will have to monitor where plastic waste goes when it leaves their borders. The pact comes after a report published last month by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and Greenpeace East Asia, showed dumped plastic waste in Asia was destroying crops and health.

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