A United Nations-backed effort to devise an international treaty to address the global plastics crisis just concluded a week-long summit in Paris.
Maria Ivanova, Northeastern’s director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, who has been directly involved in the negotiations, participated in the summit. She’s been serving as a delegate on the International Science Council—one of the world’s leading organizations for scientific advancement, that works to catalyze global action on pressing issues—and advising several nations throughout the plastic negotiations.
Ivanova tells Northeastern Global News that she started working on the issue of plastic pollution when she joined the Rwandan delegation to the United Nations Environment Assembly in March 2022. The problem of plastic pollution has started to come to a head more recently amid the growing evidence linking plastic production and use to a range of health problems in humans.
“[Plastic] poses unimaginable threats—we don’t know them yet—to human health,” Ivanova says. “It’s a very severe crisis in human health, but also in planetary health.”