UN and Partners Launch Global Partnership on Marine Litter

01/08/2012 - Over 6.4 million tonnes of marine litter are estimated to pollute our oceans each year, with most waste originating from land – and trends suggesting increasing volumes. On 19 June 2012, governments, industry representatives and UN bodies launched a new partnership to tackle the damage caused by marine litter to the environment, livelihoods and human health.

The Global Partnership on Marine Litter, led by the United Nations Environment Programmme (UNEP), will act as a coordinating forum, bringing together diverse organisations active in the same field and encouraging governments, NGOs, scientists and academics to collaborate. Involving a wide range of stakeholders, the global partnership will collectively address the issue of marine litter and develop effective responses that can be replicated and scaled up across the world. An online forum, managed by UNEP, will allow members of the partnership to share information and lessons learned.

In keeping with the Honolulu Strategy - a global framework for tackling marine litter backed by governments, members of the plastics industry, scientists, and other groups, the global partnership will focus on reducing the amount and impacts of land- and sea-based litter on the marine environment.

Overall, the new global partnership has the following objectives:

  • Reduce the ecological, human health, and economic impacts of marine litter worldwide
  • Enhance international cooperation through promotion and implementation of the Honolulu Strategy
  • Promote resource efficiency and economic development through waste prevention and recovering valuable materials from waste
  • Assess emerging issues related to marine litter, such as microplastics which may accumulate contaminants and eventually end up in the food chain when ingested by marine animals
  • Increase awareness on the sources and impacts of marine litter

The partnership is open to any local or national government, industry or business organisation, NGO, civil society group, academic institution or individual that agrees to work towards the goals outlined above.