CURBING POLLUTION

Campaign against plastic bags gets boost

Clean Seas initiative gathers momentum

In Summary

•Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago and Paraguay join the campaign

•Kenya was lauded for banning the use of single use plastics

Unep director Achim Steiner, UN deputy secretary general Jan Eliasson and President Uhuru Kenyatta arrive for the opening of the United Nations Environment Assembly at the UN headquarters in Gigiri
ENVIRONMENT TALKS: Unep director Achim Steiner, UN deputy secretary general Jan Eliasson and President Uhuru Kenyatta arrive for the opening of the United Nations Environment Assembly at the UN headquarters in Gigiri
Image: PSCU

Kenya’s resolve to end plastics pollution gained momentum yesterday at the United Nations Environment Assembly after three countries joined UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign.

Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago and Paraguay joined the campaign, bringing the number of countries now involved the world’s largest alliance for combating marine plastic pollution to 60.

The three signed up at the end of the fourth UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi.

More than 4,700 delegates from 170 countries have been meeting to hammer out new guidelines to enable humanity to prosper without degrading the planet’s already depleted resources.

Launched in 2017, the Clean Seas campaign works with governments, businesses and citizens to eliminate the needless use of disposable plastics and protect oceans and rivers from a toxic tide of pollution that is endangering livelihoods and killing wildlife.

The alliance now covers more than 60 per cent of the world’s coastlines. During the opening on the assembly, Kenya was lauded for banning the use of single use plastics. Kenya in 2017 joined 40 other countries across the world in the fight against ocean and sea pollution.

During UNEA 3, Kenya had asked other countries to take a bold steps and ban plastic bags  as one way of protecting the environment.

Antigua and Barbuda banned single-use plastic bags in 2016, becoming the first country in the Caribbean to do so.The island nation is now working to eliminate polystyrene products,which it hopes to achieve over the coming year.It is also looking to expand its recycling capacity and extend a scheme for collecting and recycling plastic bottles.

During the deliberations at UNEA 4, the more than 4,700 delegates agreed that plastics are causing damage to the environment. It is estimated that close to eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean yearly.