Norway and Indonesia promote UN campaign against marine litter

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UN Environment Programme (UNEP) launched a five-year global campaign against marine litter in Bali yesterday, 23 February. The launch of the campaign "Clean Seas - turn the tide on plastic" took place during the global marine environment conference World Ocean Summit.

The campaign is promoted by Indonesia, Norway, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Fiji as the Presidentof the UN General Assembly. Norway contributes to the financing of the United Nations Environment’s work against marine litter and thereby also to this campaign.

The campaign focuses on plastic waste and microplastics in the oceans and aims to spread knowledge worldwide about how such waste damages our livelihoods, and how people can help to reduce the pollution. The campaign will engage authorities, the private sector and civil society to cooperate on measures to prevent more plastic waste and microplastics entering the ocean, and in efforts to clean up along the coasts.

 

The main topic for the campaign are disposable plastic items. Such items are among the largest sources of plastic pollution to the oceans globally. Most of the plastic pollution entering the ocean is waste from such disposable items from populous coastal areas that are experiencing rapid economic development, but where waste management is still poor.

We need international cooperation to develop effective measures to prevent single use and disposable plastic articles ending up in the oceans, says Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen. - Plastic waste should be collected, reused or recycled, and we must develop viable options for plastic products. Measures to prevent the spread of plastic waste from poorly secured landfills will also help significantly. We should both challenge and support countries that need and support countries that need to step up their effort, says Helgesen.

The aim of the campaign is to contribute to expedite action worldwide. Seafood, which is needed to feed the world, is becoming contaminated by plastic. Particularly worrying are the smallest plastic particles - nanoplastic, which can pass through the body cells of animals and humans. The plastic may also damage the conditions for human life in the coastal areas.

Both Norway and Indonesia depend on the oceans for our livelihoods. We are cooperating with Indonesia on a large range of environmental issues, including forest and peatland protection and marine littering, says Helgesen.