The Global Fight Against Litter

The UN CleanSeas campaign

clean seas

The Maldives is the latest nation to join a UN campaign which aims to eliminate marine litter.

The UN Environment’s CleanSeas campaign was launched in February this year, and it calls on governments and businesses to take measures to minimise the use of plastic packaging.

Today, we produce and consume 20 times more plastic than we did in the 1960s, and around 1/3 of all plastic is used for packaging.

More than 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans, which causes serious damage and harm to marine ecosystems. Experts says that if we continue dumping plastics at the current rate, by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastics than fish and 99% of seabirds will have ingested some form of plastic.

The Maldives has pledged to launch a national campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastic products and to look at measures that they can introduce to reduce marine plastic.

clean seas

Kenya has joined the fight against plastic too

Kenya recently announced a plastic bag ban which surely must have the toughest punishments in the world. People caught making, selling, or using plastic bags fine of just over £29,000 or 4 years in prison! This will mainly be directed at manufacturers and suppliers, however, rather than the average person on the street.

The government say they are getting tough on plastic to help the environment, while plastic bag manufacturers argue that the ban has resulted in 80,000 jobs possibly being lost.

Kenya is one of over 40 countries, including China, France, and the Netherlands, that have introduced taxes on plastics bags or limited or prohibited their use.

The UK 5p charge for plastic bags has led to an 80% reduction in their use since it was introduced in 2015.

Other countries that have joined the campaign include Indonesia, which has committed to reduce its marine litter by 70% by 2025, Uruguay, which will tax single-use plastic bags later this year and Costa Rica have stated that measures will be taken to reduce single-use plastic through improved waste management and education.

Industry giants are also joining the fight. DELL Computers have pledged to use recovered ocean plastic in its product packaging.

Consumers are also being encouraged to curb their ‘throwaway’ habits, which are a major contributor to the problem of plastic in the oceans. The UN are urging people to reuse shopping bags and water bottles, and to reduce the amount of plastic packaging they consume. They are also being asked to stop buying items containing microbeads. 

clean seas 3