However, this puzzle of pieces does not complete the puzzle. A comprehensive UN Environment study concluded that there was a comprehensive agreement to specifically prevent plastic waste and microplastics at sea or to propose a comprehensive approach to lifecycle management of plastics.  To fill these gaps in global governance, it is necessary to negotiate and adopt a new comprehensive agreement. Anyway, once released into the environment, there are plastics for centuries. It does not matter whether it is one of these 10 streams, one of the other rivers or another source, such as wastewater, ships or coastal activities. The only viable long-term solution for pollution of plastics at sea is to contain the flow of plastics from all sources, which requires a change in the mentality of plastics and in our consumption of plastics. “In recent years, we have seen important steps taken by businesses and governments to combat plastic pollution. More than 500 organizations have signed the Global Commitment of New Plastics Economy, which adopts clear goals for a circular economy for plastic, where it never becomes waste or polluting. But voluntary initiatives alone are not enough to solve plastic pollution, and we believe that governments and policy makers must play a crucial role. A binding global agreement, based on the vision of a circular economy for plastics, can ensure a coherent international response to plastic pollution, which is consistent with the scale of the problem,” said Ellen MacArthur, founder and president of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Trust Foundation. Finally, the Montreal Protocol was designed to encourage broad participation and implementation, while allowing for a gradual strengthening of the agreement over time, as the scientific basis of the action has increased and the effectiveness of control measures has been assessed. The same approach can be adopted for a treaty on plastic pollution; A 100% consensus is not necessary to make urgent progress.
The report offers the possibility of a new UN global treaty on plastic pollution to significantly accelerate progress towards a circular economy for plastics. By creating a common structure, it would define clear direction and conditions and encourage governments and businesses to move forward with greater determination. The report argues that a comprehensive agreement setting global and binding targets is needed, with national action plans and coherent measures, to harmonize policy efforts, improve investment planning, promote innovation and coordinate infrastructure development. While voluntary initiatives can bring about change among market leaders, an internationally binding approach is needed to bring about the necessary changes across the industry. In the face of the plastic waste crisis, it is important to remember that no global crisis has ever been fully addressed without a contract being concluded to enable us to succeed,” said Erin Simon, Director of Plastic Waste Business at the World Wildlife Fund (USA).