In a recent United Nations report released on the sidelines of the recently concluded UN Biodiversity Conference, efforts to combat global marine pollution were summarized into eight simple recommendations. According to the report, plastic wastes are the most reoccurring pollutants recovered from the various polluted marine sites sampled during a detailed study across the globe.
The report titled “Marine Debris: Understanding, Preventing and Mitigating the Significant Adverse Impacts on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity” lists the top 10 marine debris items to include: cigarette butts, plastic food wrappers, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps, straws and stirrers, plastic grocery bags, glass beverage bottles, other plastic bags, paper bags and beverage cans. Of the top 10 items, seven are made of plastics.
- Packaging and plastics reduction
- Potential use of waste as a resource
- Economic instruments such as fees for single-use items
- Bans items like plastic bags, microbeads
- Engaging with businesses on sustainability, including plastics disclosure policies
- Support for alternatives to conventional plastics that are “fully biodegradable”
- Improving awareness of marine debris
- Eco-labelling / certification schemes
Member countries are implored to put necessary machinery in place to holistically to arrest the growing problem.