Stab Magazine | Is The U.N. Really Saving Our Oceans?

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Is The U.N. Really Saving Our Oceans?

After two years the U.N. Environment’s Clean Seas campaign is having an impact.

news // Feb 28, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The United Nations isn’t a regular source for surf news, but the U.N. Environment’s Clean Seas campaign is having a ripple effect around the world when it comes to taking on plastic pollution.

First launched in February 2017, the global network is made of up 57 countries who’ve all committed to doing what they can to reduce their use of single-use plastic and protect vital coastlines.

The Clean Seas campaign’s objective is to engage “governments, the general public and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic pollution. Over the next five years, we will address the root-cause of marine litter by targeting the production and consumption of non-recoverable and single-use plastic.”

One of the biggest pieces of news to come from the most recent U.N. report is that India has committed to eliminating all of its single-use plastics by 2022. For a country of over 1.3 billion people, that’s huge…especially for idyllic surf zones like the Maldives that suffer under India’s pollution problem.

Thankfully, it’s not all bad news when it comes to plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. The report highlighted other accomplishments:

• Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and one of the world’s top 10 plastic polluters, has pledged to open 26 major plastic recycling plants. 
• Vanuatu became the first country in the world to ban plastic straws in May.
• Panama banned polyethylene bags in early 2018.
• Costa Rica has adopted a national strategy to drastically reduce the use of disposable plastics by 2021.
• Belize, Bahamas, Bermuda and Jamaica have passed or are drafting laws to eradicate single-use plastics.
• Chile became the first South American country to approve a nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags. The ban came into force this year for major retailers.
• Australia pledged that 100 per cent of its packaging would be reusable, compostable or recyclable by 2025 and unnecessary single-use packing would be phased out through design, innovation or introduction of alternatives.
• Brazil is working with U.N. Environment and partners on a National Action Plan on Marine Litter. Last November, a public consultation on this topic was launched.

The report also notes that Tijuana has become the first Mexican border city to approve a ban on disposable plastic bags. If you enjoy disappearing in Northern Baja that’s some good news. Mexico has not joined the Clean Seas campaign officially.

Like we said at the top of this riff, the U.N. isn’t exactly a hub or surf spin, but it’s pretty epic to see what the international organization is doing in the fight against plastic pollution. We can all strive to keep our local beaches clean and be more mindful of our own impacts on the environment, but to start moving the needle on such a large scale is a massive step forward.



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