Plastic pollution contributes to violations of many internationally recognized human rights including the rights to life, the highest attainable standard of health, a healthy environment, water and sanitation, and adequate food. Failure to prevent and manage plastic pollution adversely affects rights to equality and non-discrimination, and the impacts of plastic pollution are exacerbated due to a lack of respect for procedural environmental human rights to information, participation, and access to effective remedy. While the plastics crisis is a global issue, its impacts are disproportionately felt by those at heightened risk of human rights violations, including workers, children, and people living in poverty.

The materials shared below were prepared as part of “SEA circular – Reducing marine litter by addressing the management of the plastic value chain in Southeast Asia’ through a human rights-based approach to plastic pollution and management of the plastic value chain, a project jointly implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA), with funding from the Government of Norway. For more information, contact project lead Dr. Sara Seck.


Submissions from 2021


UNEP and Marine & Environmental Law Institute, "Plastics Toolbox: Business, Human Rights, and the Environment" (last updated November 2021) (Dalhousie University, Schulich School of Law), Marine and Environmental Law Institute