UNEP calls for action on marine litter amid threat to planetary health

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 22, 2021
Adjust font size:

NAIROBI, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- The removal of metric tons of plastic debris choking the world's major oceans should be accelerated in order to restore planetary health, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a report published Thursday.

According to the report, titled "From Pollution to Solution: a global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution," unregulated dumping of plastic waste into large water bodies presents a serious threat to human and ecosystem health.

"The scale and rapidly increasing volume of marine litter and plastic pollution are putting the health of all the world's oceans and seas at risk," says the report.

It notes that the amount of plastic debris in the oceans is currently estimated at between 75 million to 199 million metric tons, adding that in the absence of solid interventions, the cost to human health and livelihoods would be astronomical.

The UNEP report reveals that the amount of plastic waste entering aquatic ecosystems could nearly triple from 9-14 million metric tons annually in 2016 to 23-27 million metric tons per year by 2040.

In addition, plastics account for 85 percent of total marine litter, and have lethal effects on the health of whales, seals, turtles, birds and coral reefs, besides disrupting carbon sequestration in large water bodies, says the report.

It says that micro plastics act as agents for pathogens that cause diseases to humans and fish, adding that open burning of non-biodegradable litter along the beaches is harming the respiratory system of coastal communities.

The economic cost of marine plastic pollution with regard to losses in tourism, fisheries and aquaculture and cleanups was estimated at 6 billion to 19 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, according to the UNEP report.

It calls for fiscal incentives to boost circularity and adoption of eco-friendly alternatives, public awareness and enforcement of laws to reduce plastic waste in the oceans.

Inger Andersen, the executive director of UNEP, said there was an urgency to act on plastic pollution in the oceans in order to minimize threats to livelihoods of coastal dwellers. Enditem

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter