Malé, the capital city of Maldives. PHOTO/COURTESY
By ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT
Maldives has joined UN Environment’s global campaign to eliminate marine litter and become the 28th country globally to do so.
As part of its commitment, Maldives will undertake a national campaign to reduce single-use plastics and look to reduce and intercept plastics in oceans.
The UN Environment CleanSeas campaign, which was was launched in February this year, calls on government to pass policies to reduce plastics, industries to minimize plastic packaging and consumers to reduce plastic use.
“Our oceans both connect us and are key to our survival. We cannot continue to treat them like a rubbish dump. Small island developing countries like Maldives are on the sharp end of the current tide of pollution, and this commitment to Clean Seas sends an important message that enough is enough,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.
“All nations, big and small, must take action.”
Asia Pacific accounts for 60-70 per cent of ocean plastic pollution. Plastics make up 90 per cent of litter in oceans. More than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans annually and costing some $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems.
According to some estimates, at the rate we are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags and cups after a single use, by 2050 oceans will carry more plastic than fish. Small islands are particularly affected.
Abdulla Ziyad, Minister of State for Environment and Energy, Maldives said that his country is increasingly faced with litter and plastics generated elsewhere and called for regional action to address the issue.
“Marine litter and pollution is indeed a critical area of concern for our region. Addressing this issue requires us to think both at the national level and beyond. Integrated and holistic approaches at the local level, coupled with co-ordinated action at the regional and global level will be the key in making progress towards pollution free, clean seas for all,” he added.
Maldives pledge came at the 2nd Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities which ended today in Bangkok with governments resolved to move towards a pollution free region, highlighting the urgency of addressing marine litter and microplastics. It joins Indonesia, Kiribati and the Philippines who earlier committed to the campaign.