UNGA president launches campaign against plastic pollution

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Photo by UNEP/Cyril Villemain Local people from Watamu, Kenya, work with Local Ocean Conservation to pick up plastic on the beach.

The president of the UN General Assembly has launched a new global call to action to help end the scourge of plastic pollution in the oceans.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa told journalists at the UN Headquarters in New York on 4 Dec, that her ‘campaign against plastic pollution’ was a priority during her year in office and aimed to hold both consumers and decision-makers accountable.

The campaign will target the phasing out of single-use plastics such as water bottles and raising awareness of the impact plastic pollution has on human and environmental health, she added.

The scheme, according to the president, is comprised of two elements: global advocacy, and internal initiatives to reduce plastics use within the UN.

“I intend to leverage the capacity of the office of the president of the General Assembly, to support ongoing global campaigns to beat plastic pollution. This will include complementary efforts by UN Environment, Global Citizen and National Geographic, amongst others,” said the UNGA president.

According to the UN’s climate agency, UN environment (UNEP), more than eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean annually. This is equal to dumping one truckload of plastic waste per minute in the marine ecosystem, at a cost of around $8bn (€7bn).

The move follows a recent UNEP Global Plastics Platform campaign which was launched during the General Assembly week in September.

The platform, supported by the EU, encourages new commitments to reduce plastic pollution and explores innovative ways to change the habits of design, production, consumption and disposal of plastics around the world.

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