A newly released United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report "MARINE PLASTIC DEBRIS AND MICROPLASTICS: Global lessons and research to inspire action and guide policy change" considers plastic litter in the oceans "a common concern of humankind".
A few of the key takeaways from the report:
- 'Biodegradeable' plastics do not degrade rapidly in the ocean;
- Need to move toward a more circular economy model for plastics production, to minimize plastic waste;
- There is sufficient evidence to take a Precautionary Approach and act now to reduce plastic entering the oceans.
- There needs to be better governance framework for dealing with plastic pollution, and more cooperation among directly affected nations and communities;
- Marine plastics have serious social, economic and ecological impacts ranging from deaths from navigation accidents involving plastic debris to wildlife death and injury to loss of income and clean-up costs;
- Plastic reduction measures should be taken to minimize leakage into the oceans;
- Improved waste collection and management is the most urgent solution for reducing plastic pollution in the oceans, especially in developing economies.
Lots of work to do!
Here are a couple of commentaries on the report:http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0525/Is-biodegradable-plastic-a-big-liehttp://www.treehugger.com/ocean-conservation/great-awful-truth-about-biodegradable-plastics.html
Here is the report: http://www.unep.org/about/sgb/Portals/50153/UNEA/Marine%20Plastic%20Debris%20and%20Microplastic%20Technical%20Report%20Advance%20Copy.pdf