Embedding the right to health within international negotiations on plastics

By Graham Hamley, Stephanie Switzer

“Today, plastics are ubiquitous. They are found in almost every corner of life, including food packaging, medical equipment, and the clothes we wear. We know that plastics have the potential to impact numerous human rights, including the right to health. As a response to both the scale of the plastic production as well as the wealth problems caused by plastics pollution, in March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) adopted resolution 15/4, “End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument.” Next week, from 29th May to 2nd June 2023, the international negotiating committee (INC) will meet for its second session (INC-2), to continue discussions on developing this international instrument, which is also tasked to deal with plastic pollution in the marine environment. This policy brief outlines both State obligations owed in respect of the right to health in relation to plastics as well as key messages to negotiators in the ongoing negotiations on a legally binding international instrument for plastics pollution.”

Photo: Georgina Yaa Oduro & Photo: Screenshot, The Menace of Ocean Plastics film