ECAs and the Impact of Plastics on Human Rights

(IISD, Winnipeg, 16 September 2021) A UN Special Rapporteur has issued 2 reports on human rights in the area of hazardous substances. The report calls for phasing out subsidies and export credit and guarantees for fossil fuel extraction, plastics production facilities, and plastic-to-energy projects. One report addresses the stages of the plastics cycle and their impacts on human rights, and focuses on the right to science in the context of toxic substances. Marcos Orellana, the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, writes that the global plastics crisis reveals how every stage of the plastics cycle, including extraction and refining, production, transport, use, and waste. has adverse effects on the full enjoyment of human rights. The report (A/76/207) includes recommendations to address the negative consequences of the plastics cycle on human rights and integrate a human rights-based approach in transitioning to a chemically safe circular economy.