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01.06.2017

Minister Hendricks: "We have forged a broad alliance of countries against plastic waste in our oceans"

G20 High Level Conference On Marine Litter
08.06.2017 | Dr. Barbara Hendricks

National Statement UN by Dr. Barbara Hendricks at the World Oceans Day

Under the German Presidency, the G20 have agreed on an action plan to combat marine litter. In the action plan, all members commit to significantly reducing the input of waste from wastewater and rivers into the oceans.

G20 in favour of Action Plan to combat marine litter

Under the German Presidency, the G20 have agreed on an action plan to combat marine litter. Today, the action plan was adopted at a G20 meeting in Bremen in which government representatives, experts, representatives from business and industry, civil organisations and the scientific community from all member countries took part. In the action plan, all members commit to significantly reducing the input of waste from wastewater and rivers into the oceans. This will be achieved by gearing policies increasingly towards waste prevention, sustainable waste management and resource efficiency. In doing so, the G20 follow the G7 who adopted an action plan to combat marine litter in 2015, also under German Presidency.

Federal Environment Minister Hendricks commented: "If we want our Earth to remain a blue planet, we need to swiftly stop marine pollution. We have to act now gh  with broad international support. We will not succeed in tackling this problem with only two or three countries on board. The amounts of waste are already staggering. I am therefore glad that the G20 has agreed on a joint action plan to combat marine litter. This has pushed marine conservation into the spotlight on the global stage."

According to estimates, up to 140 million tonnes of waste are found in our oceans across the globe, with plastic packaging and plastic residues making up the lion's share. The Pacific Ocean is the most affected with particularly vast quantities of waste covering its surface. By now, marine litter is forming garbage patches, some of which cover an area the size of Central Europe. Marine animals such as birds and fish in particular suffer the effects of larger and smaller plastic particles. In the action plan, the G20 commit to giving greater consideration in all political areas of action to avoiding waste that reaches the oceans through water bodies, wastewater or coastal regions. Wastewater treatment and sound waste management are essential levers to reduce the input of waste into our oceans. This is due to the fact that large shares of this waste come from wastewater or enter the oceans directly from lakes and rivers unchecked and unfiltered.

The consultations also focused on the findings which show that a sound waste management system does not only enhance marine conservation, it can also improve income levels in the respective countries. In order to boost networking and exchanges among the G20, the Global Network of the Committed will be established as a voluntary platform. Its aim is to ensure the implementation of the G20 action plan and include stakeholders beyond the G20.

01.06.2017 | Pressreport No. 191/17 | Marine Water Management