Press Releases June 2009 - Report Brings to the Surface the Growing Global Problem of Marine Litter - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United Nations Environment Programme
environment for development Search 
News Centre
 
 Home News Centre
 Media Contacts
 Press Releases
 In Focus
 Speeches
 Photos
 Multimedia
 RSS / Podcasts
 Posters
 E-Cards

 Printable Version [Français][中文]
 

Report Brings to the Surface the Growing Global Problem of Marine Litter

UNEP Head Calls for World-Wide Ban on Pointless Thin Film Plastic Bags

Washington DC/Nairobi, 8 June 2009 - From discarded fishing gear to plastic bags to cigarette butts, a growing tide of marine litter is harming oceans and beaches worldwide, says a new report.

The report, the first-ever attempt to take stock of the marine litter situation in the 12 major regional seas around the world, was launched on World Oceans Day by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Ocean Conservancy.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said:

"Marine litter is symptomatic of a wider malaise: namely the wasteful use and persistent poor management of natural resources. The plastic bags, bottles and other debris piling up in the oceans and seas could be dramatically reduced by improved waste reduction, waste management and recycling initiatives".

"Some of the litter, like thin film single use plastic bags which choke marine life, should be banned or phased-out rapidly everywhere-there is simply zero justification for manufacturing them anymore, anywhere. Other waste can be cut by boosting public awareness, and proposing an array of economic incentives and smart market mechanisms that tip the balance in favor of recycling, reducing or re-use rather than dumping into the sea," he said.

The report's findings indicate that despite several international, regional and national efforts to reverse marine pollution, alarming quantities of rubbish thrown out to sea continue to endanger people's safety and health, entrap wildlife, damage nautical equipment and deface coastal areas around the world.

"This report is a reminder that carelessness and indifference is proving deadly for our oceans and its inhabitants," says Philippe Cousteau, CEO of EarthEcho International and Ocean Conservancy board member. "Offered here are more than mere facts and figures. The time for action is now, and true change will require taking a bold and courageous stand. There are solutions that everyone, everywhere in the world, can adopt to make a positive difference for our water planet."



Full Release

 



 

 

Further Resources

Marine Litter: A Global Challenge

World Oceans Day

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Message for World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day: Protecting Oceans Around the Globe

Ocean Conservancy

UNEP launches new online system to view and study the world's marine protected areas

Marine Litter Article by US sailor Adrian Stone

 

Follow Us

Keep up to date with UNEP events on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.

Twitter Facebook You Tube



UNEP on Facebook