NAIROBI (December 6, 2017) –The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) today approved resolution UNEP/EA.3/L.20 which concluded that waste minimization and environmentally sound solid waste management should be given the highest priority in efforts to address marine litter.
The World Plastics Council issued the following statement, through Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh in his role as chairman of the World Plastics Council:
“This resolution, adopted during the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3), adds to the fast-growing global consensus that to end marine plastic pollution we must invest in improved municipal solid waste management, with a focus on emerging economies with large populations near rivers and coastlines.
“The resolution is consistent with prior research sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance® in Stemming the Tide: Land-based strategies for a plastic-free ocean, with similar statements APEC Ministers, the G-7, and G-20, and with commitments and programs underway by plastics makers around the globe.
“Since 2011, our industry has partnered in many efforts to research and prevent marine debris around the world under our “Declaration of the Global Plastics Solutions for Solutions on Marine Litter,” which has been signed by 70 plastics associations in 35 countries. Our 2016 Progress Report lists 260 projects that have been completed or are in progress in various parts of the world since the effort began.
“People around the world appreciate plastics for their usefulness, low weight, hygiene and low cost. Strong, lightweight plastics enable us to reduce material use and ultimately conserve resources, save energy, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce food waste. A study from Trucost, Plastics and Sustainability: A Valuation of Environmental Benefits, Costs, and Opportunities for Continuous Improvement, compares the environmental costs of using plastics to alternative materials. The study found that replacing plastics in consumer products and packaging with a mix of alternative materials that provide the same function would increase environmental costs by over three fold, annually.
“Marine debris is a complex, global issue that deserves thoughtful consideration and action on the part of government, scientists and industries working together. The UNEA3 resolution through waste management practices will help support long-term, integrated solutions to this challenge.”
The World Plastics Council will continue to support initiatives to drive waste minimization and environmentally sound solid waste management.