Clear call for stronger global efforts to tackle marine litter and microplastics

Hæge Andenæs
Hæge Andenæs, Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, discussed the global problem with plastic litter, in the European Parliament in Brussels. Photo:The Mission of Norway to the EU

Director General Hæge Andenæs highlighted the importance of strengthening global commitments to  combat marine litter and microplastics – a problem that cannot be solved without Europe taking the lead.

Combatting marine litter and microplastics is a high priority for the Norwegian government. In 2014, Norway raised the issue as a global problem in UN Environmental Assembly, and in in December last year, the countries of the world agreed on "a zero vision" – the long term elimination of all discharge of litter and microplastics to the ocean.

Hæge Andenæs, Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, discussed the matter Wednesday 5 September, in the European Parliament in Brussels. She attended an event where policy-makers, private actors and NGOs’ discussed efforts to tackle marine litter and microplastics.

Norwegian efforts

In her speech she addressed the importance of strengthening global commitments to the issue. In addition, Andenæs also talked about the Norwegian efforts at home and on a global level.

She pointed out that marine plastic litter and microplastics need to be tackled at source.

“We must turn off the tap and prevent plastic litter and microplastics from entering the oceans. Strengthening waste management and building capacity is therefore key. We believe that this message needs to be communicated more strongly”, she said.

Norway has also established a 30 million euro Development Program to combat marine litter and microplastics. The purpose of the program is to contribute to programs to prevent marine litter, with a focus on strengthening waste management capacities in the most affected regions.

Welcomes the Commission’s initiatives

The Director General emphasized the need for Europe to continue being a driving force for preventing further discharge of plastic litter in the oceans. She welcomed the Commission’s initiatives to reduce marine litter – the Plastics strategy, the directive on port reception facilities and the directive on reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.

“We cannot solve the global problems with plastic litter in out oceans without Europe, so please join in very heavily”, said Andenæs.