187 countries pledge to restrict global plastic waste, US not part of pact

In a bid to curb plastic crisis around the globe, governments of 187 countries have agreed to control the movement of plastic waste between their national borders. The United States, however, is not part of the pact.

All nations agreed to the Basel Convention, a treaty that regulates the movement of hazardous materials from one country to another, in order to combat the dangerous effects of plastic pollution around the world, CNN reported.

The pact was approved at the end of a two-week meeting of UN-backed conventions in Geneva.

But the US was not involved in the decision-making process and therefore has not ratified the agreement.

According to the pact, contaminated plastic wastes will require prior consent from receiving countries before they are traded, with the exceptions of mixes of PE, PP and PET, according to the World Wide Fund (WWF).

However, the pact will still apply to the US when it tries to trade plastic waste to virtually any country in the world.

The US has been sending its plastic waste to various countries around the world, including China and Malaysia. But the practice came to an end after China, last year in January, abruptly announced a ban on the import of plastic waste as part of an initiative to clean up its environment.

The new international move is "a highly welcome step towards redressing this imbalance and restoring a measure of accountability to the global plastic waste management system," the WWF was quoted as saying.

Researches have said that around 100 million tons of plastic is now found in the world's oceans, up to 90 per cent of which comes from land-based sources.

Earlier this week, nearly one million people signed a global petition urging the governments of the Basel Convention to take action by preventing western countries from "dumping millions of tonnes of plastic waste on developing countries instead of recycling it".