G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter recommends the introduction of EPR (we call it product stewardship in NZ) and Bottle Deposits!

Last month, the Group of Twenty – or G20 as it is popularly known – met in Hamburg, Germany to agree on an action plan to tackle the growing problem of marine litter. The G20 comprises the world’s top 20 economies, including India, Australia, the US, and the European Union, among others. The group meets on an annual basis to discuss issues of global importance, and this year’s summit saw the group pledging to address marine litter, which has become a major threat to both the environment and marine ecology.

In its action plan, the summit put forward a number of policy measures which could be undertaken by G20 countries to prevent and reduce marine litter, and stressed that both land and sea-based sources of pollution need to be addressed.

Page 2 of the action plan recommends the introduction of extended producer responsibility (EPR) and deposit schemes as two of the measures ensure that litter generation is minimized, while at the same time generating economic benefits. The framework also reiterates the need to develop new sources of funding for waste management, for e.g., through economic incentives, deposit funds, etc.

Meanwhile, faced with doomsday scenarios that predict more plastic waste in the oceans than fish by the year 2050, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) joined with the European Union, United Nations Environment and other key stakeholders to launch the World Aquariums Against Marine Litter campaign on 27 July in Monaco.

The campaign unites more than 80 aquariums worldwide to help reduce plastic refuse in the oceans and was introduced by H.S.H. Prince Albert II in a ceremony at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.

“Plastics are a major threat, not only for animal species that ingest them directly, but also for the food chain of which they are a part,” said Prince Albert. “This is why it is essential to utilize awareness-raising efforts on such a major issue, like the initiative bringing us together today.”

The G20 and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums recognize the urgent need for action to prevent and reduce marine litter in order to preserve human health and marine and coastal ecosystems, and mitigate marine litter’s economic costs and impacts.

Bottle deposits and product stewardship are key measures to address the plastic issue – when will our government take action!

See G20 report here.

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