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Australia backs bid to tackle marine pollution

marine pollution

Australia’s support for a binding global agreement to address marine plastic pollution is a breakthrough, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia.

Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley joined calls for a new global agreement on Marine Plastic Pollution while addressing two international meetings.

At the international Ministerial Conference on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution last week, Ley endorsed its Ministerial Statement calling for an international global agreement. At the weekend she endorsed the Pacific Regional Declaration on the Prevention of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution and its Impacts.

“Ensuring our shared oceans are clean and healthy is both a national and regional responsibility for Australia as we face an international tide of 11 million tonnes of plastic entering the world’s oceans each year,” Ley said.

“We need an urgent global response to stem the flow of plastics into our oceans.”

Support for a plastic pollution treaty has grown exponentially from fewer than 70 countries in March this year to now more than 110 countries.

A World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature petition calling for a global agreement to tackle plastic pollution has gained more than two million signatures – the largest response for a WWF worldwide petition.

“We’re pleased to see the Australian Government showing leadership and throwing its weight behind a global treaty to tackle pollution to help eliminate the flow of plastic into the environment,” said Kate Noble, WWF-Australia’s No Plastics in Nature Policy Manager.

“Around 130,000 tonnes of plastic leaks into our environment every year, where it frequently results in the serious injury and death of marine wildlife and breaks up into microplastics.

“The costs of managing this global pollution crisis are astronomical. New research by Dalberg for WWF put the lifelong cost of plastics produced in 2019 at AU$5 trillion, more than the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] of India.

“Australia’s first ever Plastics Plan supported the idea of a treaty and this new announcement means the government sees the importance of a comprehensive agreement incorporated into national laws,” Noble said.

“Australia should now take the next logical step towards a treaty by co-sponsoring the draft resolution that will be voted on by all UN member states in February next year. This would formally start the process of developing a binding treaty.”

To sign the petition visit: wwf.panda.org

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