News that Australia has declared its support for a legally binding global plastics treaty has been welcomed by the nation’s leading ocean conservation organisation.
On Saturday, Federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley, released a statement announcing Australia had endorsed a global ministerial statement and a new Pacific Regional Declaration on the Prevention of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution and its Impacts.
The Pacific Declaration urges all United Nations Member States at the Fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly to support the establishment of a committee to negotiate a new binding global agreement covering the whole life cycle of plastics.
The Declaration calls for discussions on the agreement to consider the need for financial and technical support mechanisms to support plastic pollution reduction efforts across the globe, as well as consideration of financial assistance for Small Island Developing States in particular.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) stated that a global treaty on plastics is essential to truly stop plastic pollution at the source.
“With the equivalent of a dump truck’s worth of plastic entering the ocean every minute, and many plastics lasting for centuries in marine environments, we are on track to have more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050,” said Shane Cucow, Plastics Campaign Manager at AMCS.
“We welcome Australia’s leadership in supporting a legally binding global agreement, with meaningful global targets for reducing plastic pollution and funding to help all nations big and small face the crisis.
“While voluntary initiatives have been helpful, and some states have taken action such as banning single-use plastics, overall the action across the globe has been fragmented and slow.
“This is a global problem, and we are all responsible. It will require consistent and decisive action from all the nations of the world to clean up our oceans and save our wildlife from death by plastic.”
Mr Cucow said that while the declaration was welcome, Australia could go further and set an example for other nations.
“We urge the Australian government to show the world their commitment to a binding, effective global plastics treaty by co-sponsoring the draft resolution to begin negotiations in February 2022.”