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A United Nations committee meeting in Paris on Monday to work on a landmark treaty to end global plastic pollution has yet to agree on an outcome.

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastics tasked with developing the first legally binding international treaty on plastic pollution, including the marine environment. It is the second of five meetings to conclude negotiations by the end of 2024.

At the first meeting in Uruguay six months ago, some countries called for a global mandate, some for national solutions and others for both.

With so little time to negotiate the treaty, experts say it will be crucial at the second session to make decisions about the treaty’s goals and scope — such as which plastics it will focus on. But that’s easier said than done. More than 2,000 participants, including governments and observers, from nearly 200 countries attended the meeting at UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency in Paris.

A fundamental issue considered Monday is the system of voting on each country’s decisions, which has caused heated debate and delays at the plenary session scheduled to end Friday.

Humans produce more than 430 million tons of plastic a year, the United Nations Environment Program said in April, two-thirds of which short-lived products that could quickly turn into waste, fill oceans and Often enters the human food chain. Global plastic waste generation will nearly triple by 2060, with about half ending up in landfill and less than a fifth recycled, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The treaty could focus on human health and the environment, as the self-described “ambitious coalition” led by Norway and Rwanda wants, by limiting plastic production and restricting some chemicals used in plastic. The coalition committed to a legally binding international instrument to end plastic pollution by 2040. It said this was necessary to protect human health and the environment, while helping restore biodiversity and curb climate change.

Or, as some plastic-producing countries and oil and gas exporters hope, the treaty could be more limited in its scope to tackle plastic waste and expand recycling. Most plastics made from fossil fuels. Countries backing the plan include the United States, Saudi Arabia and China. The U.S. mission to Uruguay said the national plan would allow governments to prioritize the most important sources and types of plastic pollution. Many plastics and chemical companies also want to adopt this approach and have created treaties to prioritize recycling plastic waste.

The International Council of Chemical Societies, the World Plastics Council, the American Chemistry Council and others that make, use and recycle plastic say they want a deal that will end plastic pollution while “preserving the societal benefits of plastic”. They call themselves a “global partner in the plastic cycle”. They say modern plastic materials being used around the world to make essential and often life-saving products, many of which are critical to a low-carbon, more sustainable future.

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