Tackling plastic pollution should begin at the source

6 July 2016 - Marine Litter Vital Graphics, highlights why it is important to act now if we want to avoid living in a sea of plastic by mid-century. Though short-term fixes do exist, any lasting solution to the problem of plastic pollution must include tackling it as its source.

Marine Litter Vital Graphics, co-authored by the United Nationals Environment Programme (UNEP), and Grid Arendal underscores the need to take a hard look at how we produce and use plastic.

The world population in 1950 was 2.5 billion and global production of plastic was 1.5 million tonnes. Today there are more than 7 billion people in the world and plastic production exceeds 300 million tonnes annually. Marine Litter Vital Graphics report states that if the trend continues, by 2050 we will accumulate another 33 billion tonnes of plastic.
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Plastic in fish highlights need for cleaner Thames!

30 September 2015 (London) -A recent article on BBC written by Jonathan Amos, has reported that scientists have found that a large percentage of crabs and two species of fish samples in Thames River contained plastic fibers in their gut. The research has reinforced how serious the problem of plastic pollution is and how urgent it is for people to take action.

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Race for Water Odyssey - continues!

14 September 2015 (Indian Ocean) - The Race for Water Odyssey continues despite the MOD70 Race for Water trimaran having capsized on Saturday 12 September 2015 en route from the Koror Islands to Chagos Islands, in the Indian Ocean. The Odyssey is determined to tour the world in order to assess plastic pollution in the oceans. UNEP has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Race for Water Foundation,  a non-profit Organization with the mandate on Water Preservation including to learn, share and act on the Water Footprint and Marine Plastic Pollution. Its’ “Odyssey” catamaran planned to travel through all the garbage patches documenting and monitoring the situation in them.  It carries the UNEP logo amongst others.
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Alarming percentage of seabirds are gobbling plastic

26 August 2015 (Stockholm) - The ubiquitous existence of marine debris has increasingly threatened the world’s seabirds as plastic items are found in guts of the majority of seabird species such as albatross, petrels and penguins, a recent study published by scholars from CSIRO and Imperial College London said

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WaterLex and UNEP to Launch Wastewater Regulation E-Book at World Water Week

26 August 2015 (Stockholm) - The GPA has collaborated, through its Global Wastewater Initiative, with WaterLex on an in-depth study resulting in a 120-page e-book which details good practices in wastewater regulation around the world.

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Prolific Algal Blooms in Coastal Areas in the Shandong Province, in China

19 August (Nairobi) - China has recently experienced the influx of thousands of tonnes of the ‘green tide’ algae at one of the most popular seaside tourist attractions in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong. The algae bloom washed in from the Yellow Sea, a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean located between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula.

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Global Concerns Are Growing as Great Barrier Reef Corals Found to Ingest Microplastics

14 August (Nairobi) - Many species of coral actively ingest a range of food, including bacteria and plankton. Coral was however found to be ingesting not only these sources of food, but also microplastics, in a recent study published in Marine Biology.

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Bad News: Zooplankton Are Munching on Microplastics

14 August (Nairobi) - A recent study published in Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, has found zooplankton to ingest microplastics, which they mistake for food. Global concerns over the impacts of microplastics as a pollutant have emerged in recent years as concentrations of these plastics have risen in the ocean.

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The Race for Water Odyssey Visits Japan

24 July 2015 (Tokyo) - The Race for Water Odyssey (R4WO) expedition made a port call in Tokyo, Japan. R4WO is a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) supported expedition that aims to visit islands located in all 5 ocean gyres where marine litter has accumulated. The outcome of these visits will be a global assessment on the state of marine litter in these gyres.

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Plan to Curb Fertilizer Runoff into Chilika

09 August 2015 (Jamaica) - The Chilika Development Authority (CDA), in collaboration with the GPNM, has hosted a three day consultation meeting with agriculture experts from the India Government and leading farmers to initiate a pilot project on effective fertilizer usage and measures to curb fertilizer runoff into the Lagoon Catchment.

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GRID-Arendal to produce Vital Graphics on marine litter

09 July 2015 (Norway) - The GPA will be collaborating with GRID-Arendal in order to create a Vital Graphic on marine litter. This publication will be used to communicate science and policy relating to marine litter without complexity, as well as raise awareness on the human health, environmental, and socioeconomic impacts it presents. It will be published by the end of 2015.

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The European Parliament Hosted a Conference on Marine Litter

01 July 2015 (Brussels, Belgium) - The European Parliament hosted “Marine Litter Impact on Oceanic Ecosystems: Problems and solutions,” a conference addressing the growing global problem of marine litter. This event was attended by representatives from organisations such as the UNEP, the European Commission, and NGOs that are concerned with the impacts presented by marine litter.

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IFA Reiterates the Fertilizer Industry's Commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals

25 June 2015 (New-York) - GPNM partners from the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) endorsed the Sustainable Development Goals during an outreach mission to the United Nations in New-York. IFA represents the global fertilizer industry. With 550 members in about 86 countries, IFA works in coordination with the GPNM to promote sustainable nutrient management.

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The 4th annual Plasticity Forum took place in Portugal

14 June (Portugual) - The 4th annual Plasticity Forum took place in Cascais, Portugal on June 8-9. This forum, organized by the Ocean Recovery Alliance, brings together stakeholders within the plastics industry, including, but not limited to, industry representatives, businesses, sustainability experts, and plastics producers.

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Perspectives on wastewater reuse for biomass production in Sub-Saharan Africa

19 June 2015 (Nairobi) - In Sub-Saharan Africa, where both wastewater management and energy production are an issue, reusing wastewater to produce biomass can be a great opportunity. By doing so, it contributes not only, to a clean environment but also to water security, food production and security as well as forest regeneration.

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Marine litter and the GPA feature at the G7 Summit

09 June 2015 (Nairobi) - UNEP’s Executive Director’s, Achim Steiner has expressed his satisfaction with the Communiqué from the G7 Summit and the extent to which it highlighted UNEP’s work. Of note was the focus placed on marine litter and the GPA.

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Musician and Environmentalist Jack Johnson Designated UNEP Goodwill Ambassador

08 June 2015 (Nairobi) - Jack Johnson, the multi-platinum recording artist, widely acclaimed for his environmental work, was appointed UNEP Goodwill Ambassador today, during a ceremony on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. He will be supporting the work of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter.

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Plastics in Cosmetics: Are we polluting the environment with our personal care products?

08 June 2015 (Washington, DC) - More than 299 million tonnes of plastic was produced worldwide in 2013 some of which made its way to our oceans, costing approximately US$13 billion per year in environmental damage to marine ecosystems.

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World Oceans Day 2015: Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet!

08 June 2015 (Providence) - Across the United States and around the world, thousands of people will be gathering at hundreds of events to celebrate World Oceans Day. Many of the action-oriented efforts will emphasize the Better Bag Challenge where people will promise to avoid disposable plastic bags for at least one year.

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Jim Toomey Video Series to be Showcased on Ocean Today Kiosks for World Oceans Day

07 June 2015 (Washington, DC) - Three videos from the “Two minutes on ocean with Jim Toomey” series, produced in support to the GPA, will be showcased at the Ocean Today kiosk. The videos on nutrients, wastewater and marine litter will go live on 8 June at the Smithsonian at the occasion of World Oceans Day.

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Biggest Day for Positive Environmental Action Kicks off with a Call to ‘Consume with Care’

05 June 2015 (Nairobi/Milan) - World Environment Day (WED), the UN’s principal vehicle to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the environment, will be celebrated around the world on 5 June with a call to governments, communities and individuals to improve their consumption patterns.

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Experts Meet in Rome to Lay the Foundation for a Global Study on Marine Plastics Debris and Microplastics

19 May 2015 (Nairobi) - International experts gathered in Rome for a workshop hosted by FAO on April 20-22 to kick off the implementation of a global study on marine plastics debris and microplastics to be produced for the Second Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in May 2016.

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Plastics Choking Animals Targeted in G-7 Clean-Ocean Push

27 April 2015 (Germany) - The biggest advanced economies plan to urge the world to clean up plastic shopping bags and bottles clogging oceans, prodded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Read the Bloomberg article »

Southeast Pacific Coastal Communities Take Action to Tackle Marine Litter

27 April 2015 (Southeast Pacific) - As part of the implementation of the Regional Programme on Marine Litter in the Southeast Pacific, participative municipal action plans on marine litter were elaborated in five coastal communities of Southeast Pacific countries

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Watch the French Documentary "Le huitième continent"

26 April 2015 (France) - Watch the 2012 AFP documentary about the "eighth continent", an area of ​​approximately 3.4 million km2 populated by all kinds of waste produced by human activity and plastic microparticles.

Watch the documentary (French) »

Egypt successfully reuses treated sewage to produce biomass

25 April 2015 (Egypt) - UNEP’s Global Wastewater Initiative, in collaboration with the Ministry for environment, land and sea of Italy, provided support to the Egyptian organization “Holding Company for Water and wastewater” to implement a two year wastewater reuse pilot project in the region of Gerga, Egypt.

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Deep sea fish affected by health problems linked to man made pollution

15 April 2015 (Egypt) - According to a new study supported by the European Union, fish living in deep water are confronted by a multitude of health problems that may be triggered by human pollution from land-based activities. Marine fish, found as far down as 1,400 meters beneath the surface, are showing signs of liver pathologies, tumors, and other disorders.

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Race for Water Odyssey, UNEP Event Spotlights Marine Litter

09 April 2015 (New-York) - The event aimed at raising awareness on the global marine litter challenge, discussing potential activities to tackle the marine litter challenge as well as showcasing first implementation activities of UNEA resolution 1/6 on marine plastic debris and microplastics.

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The Swiss Expedition “Race for Water Odyssey” Reaches New York

01 April 2015 (New-York) - The crew members were in the "Big Apple" until April 15, participating in numerous outreach events including two United Nations (UN) conferences organized by the UNEP about the issue of plastic litter.

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New Study Analyses Constraints to Improved Management of Fertilizers in China

01 April 2015 (Nairobi) - A new study by L.E.D. Smith and G. Siciliano published in the scientific journal "Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment" provides an original and contemporary broad synthesis of the complex and inter-related factors explaining the excessive use of fertilizer observed in many intensive farming systems in China.

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Are We Flushing Away a Valuable Resource?

25 March 2015 (USA) - Sewage is not the most obvious place you’d expect to find a source of valuable metals. But a new report from the Arizona State University says gold and other precious metals are turning up in the sludge of wastewater plants.

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The 'National Forum - A Sea Without Litter' will take place on April 1st

23 March 2015 (Nairobi) - On Wednesday, April 1st , 'Kust & Zee' will organize an interactive live broadcast of the event : "A Sea without Litter". The event will gather government experts, scientists and representative from the plastic industry to discuss how to tackle the 'plastic soup' in the sea and on the beaches.

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New Study Quantifies the Amount of Debris Entering Our Oceans

9 February 2015 (Washington, D.C.) - Some eight million metric tons of plastic waste finds its way into the world’s oceans each year, and the quantity of debris is likely to increase significantly over the next decade unless nations take decisive measures manage their trash responsibly, new research suggests.

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UN Report Highlights the Need to Prioritize Wastewater Management

02 February 2015 (Nairobi) - Only 20 per cent of global wastewater is currently being treated, leaving low-income countries hardest hit by contaminated water supplies and disease, according to a UN report which encourages governments to see treated wastewater as a valuable resource, and a priority for the post-2015 development agenda.

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Dutch Rally Support for a Europe Wide Microplastic Ban in a Bid to Keep Mussels on the Menu

15 January 2015 (Netherlands) - The Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium and Sweden have issued a joint call to ban the microplastics used in personal care products, saying the measure will protect marine ecosystems – and seafood such as mussels – from contamination.

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Assessing Health Risks Arising from Wastewater Reuse in Kampala

10 January 2015 (Uganda) - A new scientific article published by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in the "Geospatial Health" journal analyses health risks arising from wastewater and faecal sludge management in Kampala, Uganda.

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A Nutrient Sensor Challenge to Help Protect Our Waterways

5 January 2015 (USA) - US federal agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations have announced the launch of the Nutrient Sensor Challenge to help accelerate the development of sensors that can be deployed in the environment to measure nutrients in waterways.

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Message from the GPA Coordinator

1 January 2015 (Nairobi) - The GPA Coordination Office is pleased to start 2015 with the re-introduction of a newsletter, highlighting recent developments related to the GPA and the work being supported by the Coordinating Office.

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Our Oceans Awash in Toxic Plastic Garbage

12 December 2014 (USA) - Scientists published a paper with the first-ever estimate of all the plastic garbage floating in the world's oceans: more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic debris, weighting 269,000 tons.

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Mitt I Naturen - Marine Litter

4 December 2014 (Sweden) - The world's oceans are home to a variety of animals and plants. It has also become a garbage dump. Over 20 000 tons of garbage are being dumped every year in the North Sea alone. This Swedish documentary is raising awareness about the impacts of marine litter on the ocean.

Watch the video (in Swedish) »

New Jim Toomey awareness raising video on wastewater to be launched in December

December 2014 (Washington, DC) - The 2 minute video called "Wastewater: A Widespread Threat and a Missed Resource" will be launched in parallel to the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management steering committee meeting.

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Trash Free Waters

17 November 2014 (Sydney) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Trash Free Waters (TFW) program is striving to develop a focused set of actions and projects that significantly reduce or even eliminate the volume of trash and litter entering watersheds, aquatic ecosystems, and the marine environment.

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IWMI launches Flagship Publication

November 2014 (Sri Lanka) - Smart and inclusive water management will be essential to the success of the United Nations’ forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a new flagship publication just released by IWMI.

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Jim Toomey’s video “Two Minutes on oceans: Nutrients Runoff” wins award at BLUE Film Festival

November 8, 2014 (St. Petersburg, USA) - The winners of The 2014 BLUE Carpet Film Awards were announced November 7. Films were selected as part of the BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit (BLUE) as being the top cinematic works for ocean conservation and awareness.

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Boyan Slat Youngest Winner of the United Nation’s Champions of the Earth Award for Inspiring Efforts to Cleanup the Ocean

07 November 2014 (Nairobi) - The Inspiration and Action award, which has been won in previous years by Brian McClendon of Google Earth and Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food, was awarded to Boyan Slat for his inspirational efforts to mobilize support to rid the ocean of marine litter.

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New UNEP Report Unveils World on Track to Meet 2020 Target for Protected Areas on Land and Sea

13 November 2014 (Sydney) - 15.4 Per Cent of Terrestrial Areas, 3.4 Per Cent of Oceans Protected, but Further Progress Needed to Cover and Effectively Manage Areas of Importance for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

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Pollution in the World’s Oceans Threatens Millions of Marine Animals

5 November 2014 (Quito) - A series of reports on the impact of marine debris on migratory marine species and ways to address this growing threat, are being presented at a major international wildlife conference taking place in Quito, Ecuador this week.

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The International Community Calls for Urgent Action on Sustainable Nutrient Management

1 November 2014 (Brussels, Belgium) - The EU Commission and the UK Houses of Parliament Office of Science and Technology have both underlined the need for action in relation to various policies and stages of the nutrients cycle.

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Tumors in Endangered Turtles linked to Excessive Nitrogen from Land-Based Pollution

8 October 2014 (Kenya) - Nutrient runoffs from agriculture may be causing tumors in endangered green sea turtles. Arginine trickles down from runoffs, and finds its way into the turtle’s food source, causing tumors to grow.

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Strategies to tackle Plastics Pollution to be Included in Plan to Manage the World's Seas

1 October 2014 (Athens) - The 16th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (RSCAPs) took place in Athens, Greece, from 29 September to 1 October 2014. One session was allocated to the GPML.

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Swimming Through Garbages

28 September 2014 (Cape Town) - Renowned endurance swimmer and UNEP)’s Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh has become the first person to swim the Seven Seas. Read Lewis Pugh's Op-Ed in the New York Times.

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Lake Victoria Towns to Adopt Best Practices in Faecal Sludge Management

3 September 2014 (Kenya) - UN-Habitat has conducted a three-day regional workshop in Kericho focused on best practices in faecal sludge management in Africa, including case studies of Dakar, Accra, and Kampala.

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The Last Straw – Preventing our Oceans from becoming Dumps

2 September 2014 (Samoa) - The side event held during the UN Conference on SIDS presented the activities undertaken by SIDS to reduce and manage waste entering the marine environment from land- and sea-based sources.

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UNEP Opens New Sub-Regional Office for the Pacific Based in Samoa

2 September 2014 (Samoa) - The establishment of this new office is one of the results from the decisions agreed by Member States during the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development to strengthen the role of UNEP.

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Reducing Harmful Algal Blooms

21 August 2014 (USA) - Nearly half a million people in northwestern Ohio were without drinking water early in August 2014, after toxins produced by algae were found in the water supply.

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Black Sea in Pollution Crisis: Georgian Communities Take Action

20 August 2014 (Georgia) - Following decades of pollutants entering its waters, the Black Sea is now facing an environmental crisis of extreme proportions, and is considered one of the most environmentally degraded regional seas in the world.

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UN Environment Assembly Calls for Strengthened Action on Marine Litter

1 August 2014 (Nairobi, Kenya) - The resolution called for the strengthening of information exchange mechanisms, requesting UNEP to present scientific assessments on microplastics for consideration by the next session of the Assembly.

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Excess Nutrients in the Environment - a Global Challenge for the 21st Century

28 June 2014 (Nairobi, Kenya) - UNEA provided a timely opportunity, in the context of specific nitrogen related drivers, as well as global drivers to revisit impacts that can be seen across the 10 issues analyzed in the UNEP Year Book 2014.

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EEA Releases Mobile Phone Application to Track Marine Litter

3 March 2014 (Denmark) - The European Environment Agency (EEA) has launched a mobile phone called Marine Litter Watch, it can be used to upload data on litter found on the beach or from area clean-ups. The goal is to fill data gaps on beach marine litter to support a policy response.

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New smartphone app will help consumers ‘beat the microbead’

January 2014 (Netherlands) - Dutch NGOs Plastic Soup Foundation and North Sea Foundation have launched a new smartphone app called Beat the Microbead that will allow consumers to find out whether or not a product contains plastic microbeads by simply scanning its barcode. UNEP is supporting this initiative through the GPML.

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