12 Mar 2019 - Countries from around the worldwide set their sights on a pivotal deal to curb plastic waste, a source of long-term pollution and worsening contamination of the ocean's food chain.
Thousands of delegates, business leaders and campaigners are in Nairobi for the five-day UN Environment Assembly, the top annual forum on the planet's environmental crisis.
The UN wants individual countries to sign up to "significantly" reduce plastic production, including a phasing out of single-use plastics by 2030 -- a goal inspired by the 2015 Paris Agreement on voluntary reductions of carbon emissions.
"In the field of (plastic) pollution we don't have such agreements," Siim Kiisler, UN Environment Assembly president and Estonia's environment minister, told journalists as the gathering got underway.
"This is the first time (we have) to convince member states to make international commitments."
A landmark report due out this week is expected to ram home the warning of the threat to ecosystems from rampant plastic and chemical waste.
The world currently produces more than 300 million tonnes of plastics annually, and there are at least five trillion plastic pieces floating in our oceans, scientists have estimated.
Microplastics have been found in the deepest sea trenches and high up Earth's tallest peaks, and plastic consumption is growing year-on-year.
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