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United Nations announces new global campaign to clear plastic from oceans

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Versova Beach, Mumbai, India. (Photo courtesy UN Environment)
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The United Nations Environment Progam announced Thursday that it would be launching a new effort to clean the world’s oceans of plastic pollution. Called the #CleanSeas campaign, the ambitious program seeks to remove more than eight million tons of plastic leaks into the ocean each year, an amount that’s equal to a garbage truck of plastic hitting the sea every minute.

The campaign was launched at the Economist World Ocean Summit, which is currently taking place in Bali. Through #CleanSeas, the UN is urging governments around the world to pass plastic reduction policies. So far, ten countries are on board; Indonesia has committed to reducing its ocean litter 70 percent by 2025, Uruguay will begin taxing plastic bags this year, and Costa Rica is working on methods to reduce single-use plastic.

“Costa Rica recognizes the risks and damage caused by the effects of single-use plastic and non-recoverable microplastics on the marine environment,” said Edgar Gutiérrez-Espeleta, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica. “We strongly favor the engagement of all relevant stakeholders, including civil society, private sector and all citizens to support national and global efforts. Only through a real and active engagement of all of us, with the help of dynamic partnerships, we will be able to effectively combat marine litter.”

In addition to the commitment of global governments, #CleanSeas is putting the pressure on large corporations to be more responsible with their plastic production. DELL Computers has signed on to the project, unveiling a new supply chain of plastic which has been fished out of the oceans.

“DELL is committed to putting technology and expertise to work for a plastic-free ocean,” said Dell’s Vice President for Global Operations Piyush Bhargava. “Our new supply chain brings us one step closer to UN Environment’s vision of Clean Seas by proving that recycled ocean plastic can be commercially re-used.”

#CleanSeas will announce further programs designed to reduce plastic marine litter during the Ocean Conference, taking place at the UN Headquarters in New York in early June.

 

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