Moves to address marine litter and microplastics, prevent and reduce air pollution were among the 13 non-binding resolutions passed by the UN Environment Assembly at its recent meeting in in Nairobi.
The Draft resolution on marine litter and microplastics seeks, by 2025, to “prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution”.
While the Draft does not introduce any hard targets, three of its key calls to action include:
- The importance of long-term elimination of discharge of litter and microplastics to the oceans and of avoiding detriment to marine ecosystems and the human activities dependent on them from marine litter and microplastics
- Urge all actors to step up actions to “by 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution”
- Encourage all Member States to, based on best available knowledge on sources and levels of marine litter and microplastics in the environment, prioritise policies and measures at appropriate scale, to avoid marine litter and microplastics entering the marine environment.
“The science we have seen at this assembly shows we have been so bad at looking after our planet that we have very little room to make more mistakes,” said Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and the President of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly.
“With the promises made here, we are sending a powerful message that we will listen to the science, change the way we consume and produce, and tackle pollution in all its forms across the globe,” he continued.
The resolution also said that “preventive action through waste minimization and environmentally sound waste management should be given the highest priority, and that this is especially important in geographical areas with the largest sources of marine plastic litter”.
Meanwhile, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), a member of the Rethink Plastic campaign in Europe, urged governments to implement binding measures to transition to circular economy, where waste is prevented and products reused or recycled.
“Plastic pollution is relatively new on the UN agenda, but the hope is that one day we’ll have a Paris Agreement to end the use of unnecessary plastic and boost reuse and recycling instead,” commented Piotr Barczak, policy officer at the EEB who attended the meeting in Nairobi.
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