The recent summit of G20 leaders which took place in Hamburg on 7-8 July 2017 generated a buzz of media headlines regarding discussions about climate change, trade, terrorism and economic growth. However, amongst all the glitz and glamour, a very important and under-reported commitment was made.
The G20 states have undertaken to tackle the growing problem of marine litter.
The following excerpt from the G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter published a few days ago summarises the commitment:
We, the G20, will take action to prevent and reduce marine litter of all kinds, including from single-use plastics and micro-plastics. We thus reiterate our commitment to preventing and substantially reducing marine litter and its impacts by 2025 in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals and targets related to marine pollution, waste management, waste water treatment and sustainable consumption and production by putting into practice the following ‘G20 Operational Framework’ and the voluntary Global Network of the Committed (GNC)
Importantly, the action plan also recognises the contribution of land-based sources of marine litter such as “the lack of effective solid waste management, wastewater treatment and storm water systems, and unsustainable production and consumption patterns”. The plan focuses on seven main areas of action:
- Promote the socio-economic benefits of establishing policies to prevent marine litter
- Promote waste prevention and resource efficiency
- Promote sustainable waste management
- Promote effective waste water treatment and storm water management
- Raise awareness, promote education & research
- Support removal and remediation action
- Strengthen the engagement of stakeholders
To long-standing KIMO members, this should all sound like familiar territory and not without reason. The G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter is informed by OSPAR’s Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter which KIMO has actively contributed to for many years.
This commitment is great news for the marine environment and an important step towards realising KIMO’s vision of healthy oceans and sustainable coastal communities. In the meantime, we continue to work on practical solutions to address the problem of marine litter.