World Environment Day 2018 - Beat Plastic Pollution

Erna Solberg
Prime Minister Erna Solberg participating in the clean-up of litter 5 May 2018. Photo: Marit Hommedal / NTB scanpix

“Plastic pollution is a global problem that needs global solutions, but it also needs participation at the individual level”. This was the message from Norwegian ambassador Geir O. Pedersen at an event celebrating World Environment Day in Beijing last Saturday.

The Norwegian ambassador participated in the launch of a plastic waste art installation. This was part of an event organised by UN Environment China Office with the theme “beat plastic pollution, build beautiful China”.

“I’m pleased to see the responsibility China is ready to take together with UN Environment and Norway, to beat plastic pollution,” ambassador Geir O. Pedersen said in his speech.

Norwegians have lived by the sea and off the sea for more than a thousand years. For Norway, the ocean is both a way of life and a way of making a living.

Marine litter and microplastics are growing environmental concerns.  

It is reported that eight million tons of plastic ends up in the oceans every year. This shows the magnitude of the problem.

On a global level, strengthening waste management and building capacity is key. Norway supports stronger international commitment and the implementation of existing legislation, action plans and policies to combat marine litter and microplastics.

At the third UN Environment Assembly, the world agreed on Norway's initiative for a long-term goal of a zero-vision for discharge of plastics into the oceans.

The UN Environment Assembly underlined that waste management should be given the highest priority. There is a pressing need to invest in waste management infrastructure. 

In Norway as in many other countries, civil society's engagement in beach and underwater cleaning of marine litter has exploded. On May 5, 100.000 volunteers participated in the national clean-up effort, on 3 000 sites nationwide.