12 Aug 2020 - Plastic litter threatens the environment, human health, and business in marine and coastal settings. A spike in the use of single-use plastics due to the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this threat. Industry and the private sector play a crucial role in combating marine litter, with innovations on modes of production and consumption, waste management, and digital approaches.
- The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) held a side event on engaging industry to tackle marine litter and achieve SDG 14 (life below water).
- A spike in the use of single-use plastics due to the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this threat.
- Speakers advocated for beginning negotiations on a legally binding treaty on plastic pollution, among other recommendations.
The side event titled, Engaging Industry through the Global Partnership on Marine Litter to deliver SDG 14, highlighted the need for more action on marine litter and provided examples on industry engagement. UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen told participants that, in 2015, only 9% of plastics was recycled, and damage from debris in the Asia-Pacific region totaled around USD 11 billion. She pointed to a resurgence in single-use plastic products with increased use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic. To combat marine litter and plastic pollution, Andersen stressed the importance of: multilateralism and partnerships; engaging industry along the entire value chain; managing and recycling plastic waste from COVID-19; and reversing or halting production of single-use plastic products.
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