“As countries negotiate the second round of international negotiations (INC-2) in Paris, France this week, we forward our calls to global leaders to demand a binding treaty for plastic reduction, global transparency, and uphold the rights and environmental justice of affected communities and informal waste sectors. This is an opportunity to develop a meaningful treaty to prevent and eliminate plastic pollution,” said Jam Lorenzo, Policy and Research Associate, BAN Toxics.

“Our involvement in the GPT process is our commitment to ensure that the treaty reflects our goals of protecting the environment and upholding our rights,” Lorenzo said, who is now in Paris joining other civil society groups to call for meaningful and equitable participation of all stakeholders and amplify the demands from our communities to strengthen the viability and effectiveness of the new international instrument.

According to the World Bank, the Philippines generates 2.7 million tons of plastic waste annually with only about 28% of the key resins consumed in 2019 being recycled. The country is also known for being a ‘sachet economy’ using 59.8 billion pieces of plastic sachet as GAIA’s 2019 estimates reveal.

For an island country that has experienced the worst impact of climate change, the Philippines should have a stronger stance on the plastic crisis curbing all efforts of the industry to produce more plastics that they themselves cannot recover, recycle, and account for.  With more and more cities adopting sustainable practices to waste management such as the Zero Waste system, we shall no longer allow the plastic industry to jeopardize further national and local efforts to save our communities and the environment (especially ocean and rivers) from the harmful and toxic impacts of plastic pollution.

Key demands
“We strongly urge the Philippine government to promote a comprehensive approach to reduce plastic pollution by addressing the full lifecycle of plastic, prioritizing prevention and the precautionary principle. Moreover, sustainable production and consumption of plastics should include a mechanism for controlling virgin plastic production through caps, phase downs, and polymer restrictions.

Reimagining the design of plastic products is another essential element that can be achieved through sustainability criteria, restrictions, and requirements.”

“BAN Toxics likewise pushes for transparency for chemical constituents in plastic. It joins the call for proper labeling and disclosure of chemicals used in the production of plastic towards pollution reduction, resource efficiency, and promotion of the public’s right to information and their capacity to make informed decisions,” Lorenzo added.

“Uphold environmental justice in the treaty and no greenwashing. We urge our global leaders to support solutions that do no harm to the environment and to human health. The impact of plastics on human health should be of major concern in the negotiations, especially considering microplastic pollution, toxic additive use, and emissions-intensive plastic production and disposal processes.”

“The rights of impacted communities including informal waste pickers should be guaranteed in the treaty. Waste pickers are responsible for over 50% of plastic collection globally and are a valuable source of information for practices and challenges in plastic waste management. We urge the Philippine government to support their full participation throughout the negotiations to share expertise essential for developing effective approaches and enabling visibility, protection, and the opportunity to be part of solutions.”

“We call on the government and funding institutions to support local initiatives on plastic reduction. Communities need resources to fully develop pathways to more sustainable economic models, sound chemical management, and Zero Waste System.” The group asks the Philippine government during the negotiations “to support a robust financial mechanism for delivering financial resources to developing countries and economies in transition, citing a dedicated multilateral fund as the strongest and most appropriate financing mechanism available such as the one established under the Montreal Protocol.”

BAN Toxics is a Philippine-based non-governmental organization advocating for the protection
of human rights through the sustainable management of chemicals and wastes.