Plastic waste is one of the biggest threats to the world’s oceans. More than 8 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean each year – the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck of plastic every minute. Plastic waste harms wildlife, damages marine ecosystems and causes adverse impacts to human health.
The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) advocacy to address the issue of marine litter in the effort to #BeatPlasticPollution has garnered international action. The Global Partnership on Marine Litter, coordinated by UNEP, brings together governments, civil society, local authorities, academia and the private sector to find realistic solutions to reducing and managing marine litter. The partnership enhances international cooperation to reduce the impact marine litter has on economies, ecosystems, animal welfare and human health worldwide.
The Clean Seas campaign, launched by UNEP in 2017, aims to eliminate major sources of marine litter by 2022. The campaign, which focuses on single-use plastics and micro-plastics in cosmetics, urges governments to pass plastic reduction policies, pushes industry to minimize plastic packaging and calls on consumers to change their habits. Singer-songwriter and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Jack Johnson engages fans in the campaign and encourages venues to eliminate single-use plastics while touring.
In North America, UNEP works with partners to address marine litter by raising awareness and sharing best practices. The “Two Minutes on Oceans with Jim Toomey” video series uses animation and humor to showcase actions people can take to reduce marine litter at the source.