According to this article ocean plastic pollution is rising quite fast and the estimated mass will reach total fish biomass, if current trend sustains. Also, plastic pollution seems to be more subtle, even affecting tap water (plastic fibers).

Plastic pollution is nothing new and the UN already declared a "war on ocean plastic". However, only ten countries seem to have committed to actually take measures for plastic pollution reduction:

Indonesia has committed to slash its marine litter by a massive 70 per cent by 2025; Uruguay will tax single-use plastic bags later this year and Costa Rica will take measures to dramatically reduce single-use plastic through better waste management and education.

Question: is there a global agreement for plastic pollution reduction or at least an initiative to have such an agreement? By global I mean something Paris agreement scale which includes many countries.

4 Answers 4


There is no such agreement as in signed treaty (yet). There is, however, general agreement that it's a problem (except in the usual suspect in contrarian climate policy, aka the US - no joke).

There are a few international initiatives. See for instance:

  • 3
    It should be noted that 1. Banning plastic bags is of dubious benefit at best 2. Some sources are unavoidable, such as the 2011 Japan tsunami
    – Machavity
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 20:03
  • 1
    @Machavity Right. And banning plastic straws also has dubious benefits too. Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 22:07
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    @Machavity The link you provide links to two studies, the first one only tells "if plastic bags are banned bin liners sale increase" with some non-quantifiable examples, the only quantifiable example (Scotland) shows that the increase in bin liners was more than offset by the savings in plastic bags. The other "study" linked is an opinion piece by someone who only links (broken links) to the American Chemistry Council who presents itself as a diverse set of companies engaged in the business of chemistry.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 22:43
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    @SJuan76 There's other serious question sources as well as well. There are environmental steps that could help, but it's not as clear that this is one of them. Ironically, NR is against the bag-ban-ban for political reasons
    – Machavity
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 22:56

Besides the already provided answers, the EU has voted to ban single usage plastic bags in an effort to reduce plastic pollution:

European Union legislators have voted to ban single-use plastic used by consumers, in an effort to curb ocean pollution.

The legislation was introduced after the European Commission found that 85% of marine litter is plastic. Plastic has been found in species such as fish, turtles, and shellfish, and by extension also has ended up in food consumed by people.


Global agreements for pollution reduction is done every year, the first agreement was done in 1995 at Berlin, Germany.

  1. UNCCC : United Nations Climate Change conference
  2. COP : Conference of the Parties

Paris Agreement & Kyoto Protocol are both results of this conference. COP22 was held in 2016, and COP23 is being held this year. The War on Plastic was declared this year, so I expect COP23 being held this year will produce the Plastic Pollution Reduction agreement.


It's not hard to get the world to agree on reducing plastics.

For example:

  • The world likely will agree that the EU and Canada have to reduce their usage of plastics.

  • The world likely will agree that the EU has to pay the developing world in exchange for a promise that the latter will try to reduce their usage of plastics (without any explicit goal mentioned) with some caveats that allow the developing world still to grow.

Of course, those two points will be sold as a "big step forward."

  • Do you have a source to support that? Why would it be so easy? If it were so easy, why isn't it there yet? Are there any such proposals? If so, can you please include references?
    – JJJ
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 22:40
  • It's basically what the Treaty of Paris says about CO2 (replace "plastic: in my text with "CO2"). So yes, the world will agree on those things.
    – Sjoerd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 22:41
  • Please quote the relevant passage from that treaty. It might seem tedious now, but not everyone is up to date with the full text. ;) Especially after some years, it might take some time to figure out.
    – JJJ
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 22:43
  • @JJJ Which countries would you expect to be against this? EU and Canada surely are in favor, the developing countries are promised money, and China likes it that the EU is hurting itself economically. The only one not in favor will be the USA - but who cares about their disagreement?
    – Sjoerd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 22:43
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    There are several countries in the world which already banned plastic bags and took other plastic waste reduction measures. Among them are a surprisingly large number of developing countries. I unfortunately don't have any information about which of them did this due to external pressure/incentives and which did it on their own.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 14:34

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