United Nations Environment launched on Feb 23, 2017 an unprecedented global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter: microplastics in cosmetics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic by the year 2022. Launched at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali, the “CleanSeas” campaign is urging governments to pass plastic reduction policies; targeting industry to minimize plastic packaging and redesign products; and calling on consumers to change their throwaway habits - before irreversible damage is done to our seas.
|The world's largest beach clean-up in history on Versova beach in Mumbai, India|
Throughout the year, the campaign will be announcing ambitious measures by countries and businesses to eliminate microplastics from personal care products, ban or tax single-use bags, and dramatically reduce other disposable plastic items.
Ten countries have already joined the campaign with far-reaching pledges to turn the plastic tide. Indonesia has committed to slash its marine litter by a massive 70% 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.
Each year, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. Up to 80% of all litter in our oceans is made of plastic.
According to some estimates, at the rate we are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags and cups after a single use, by 2050 oceans will carry more plastic than fish and an estimated 99% of seabirds will have ingested plastic.
Besides some personalities support the campaign, globally recognized brands are also joining the fight. DELL Computers unveiled today a commercial-scale supply chain using plastic which has been fished out of the sea near Haiti. The computer giant will use the recovered ocean plastic in its product packaging. According to Dell's Vice President for Global Operations Piyush Bhargava, DELL is committed to putting technology and expertise to work for a plastic-free ocean. Their new supply chain brings them one step closer to UN Environment's vision of Clean Seas by proving that recycled ocean plastic can be commercially re used.
All these actions will be crucial to stemming the tide of marine litter. Today, we are producing twenty times more plastic than in the 1960s. Around one third of all plastic is used for packaging. By 2050 our plastic production will have to grow three to four times to satisfy our demand. A large portion will end up in oceans where it will remain for centuries■
Phạm Đình (unep.org source)