Australia becomes the latest country to join the movement to turn the tide on plastic, as Melissa Price, the country’s minister of the Environment, announces that the country is joining the Clean Seas campaign.
The announcement came on Monday 29 October on the sidelines of the Our Ocean conference in Bali, Indonesia. Australia presented ambitious targets as part of its Clean Seas commitment. Among other things, the country is pledging that 100 per cent of Australia’s packaging will be reusable, compostable or recyclable by 2025, 70 per cent will be recycled or composted by 2025, and that problematic and unnecessary single-use packing will be phased out through design, innovation or introduction of alternatives.
“As the home of the Great Barrier Reef and incredibly rich and diverse ecosystems, Australia’s commitment to this global campaign is incredibly important,” UN Environment’s Executive Director Erik Solheim.
“It’s a recognition that our fragile oceans are in danger from pollution, and I hope it will spur strong action and inspire more nations to follow suit.”
Despite the environmental threats it poses, the use of plastic continues to grow. Up to 2015, mankind had produced 8.3 billion tons of plastic. Of this, 6.3 billion tons have already been discarded and some 8 million tons are dumped into our oceans every year.
Much of this waste is made up of disposable plastic, including cups, bags, straws, bottles and microplastics (tiny particles of plastic) from cosmetic products. At current rates, by 2050, there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish.
About UN Environment
UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.
About Clean Seas
Launched in February 2017, the Clean Seas campaign urges governments to pass plastic reduction policies; encourages industry to minimize plastic packaging and redesign products; and calls on consumers to change their throwaway habits before irreversible damage is done to our seas.