Global survey shows 7 out of 10 people support global rules to end plastic pollution


A poll of over 20,000 people across 34 countries shows support for the world’s “first-ever” plastic treaty to create binding global rules that apply to all countries rather than a voluntary global agreement where governments can choose whether or not to take action.​

Ahead of next week’s inaugural negotiations on what will be included in the UN’s plastics treaty, WWF and Plastic Free Foundation have released an Ipsos survey showing that an average of 7 out of 10 people polled across 34 countries believe that the treaty should create binding global rules to end plastic pollution.

WWF says this finding supports a growing number of UN member states that are pushing for a plastic pollution treaty to include global rules and regulations for the production, design and disposal of plastic rather than a patchwork of national or voluntary standards.

Plastic Free Foundation and WWF have called on governments to act in unison in establishing a plastics treaty with global rules as they say it is the only solution to help achieve a circular economy.

While some countries are advocating for less binding approaches, the survey shows there is less support for voluntary arrangements, with an average of only 14% of people thinking this is preferable.

Both sets of research show unequivocal support and the need for robust global regulation of plastics.

The large majority of citizens want to see a comprehensive set of measures included in the treaty: nearly 8 in 10 support rules for making producers more responsible for the plastic they generate, bans on difficult-to-recycle plastics and labelling requirements.

Commentating on the survey, global Plastics Policy Lead, WWF International, Eirik Lindebjerg, said: “People are confused and increasingly frustrated by the complex and often contradictory responses to the plastic pollution crisis from governments and industry alike.

“Through the survey, we sought to understand what the citizens of the world want to see happen and with the report, we wanted to identify the most effective steps that governments can take during the negotiations. Both sets of research show unequivocal support and the need for robust global regulation of plastics from production through to end-of-life management.”

Negotiations for this treaty are set to take place in a series of Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee meetings, with the first starting in Uruguay on 28 November, and the treaty’s negotiations are expected to be concluded by 2024.

WWF has also published a report identifying what it calls the “key mechanisms” needed to unlock systemic change across the global plastics economy. The report says that binding global rules are needed to drive “systemic change” at the speed and scale that can stop plastic waste from damaging the economy, the environment and human health.

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