A recent meeting of the United Nations in Nairobi brought to light increasing concerns over the mounting rates of plastic waste in the ocean. While nations disputed the need to enforce a specific target on waste reduction, the panel reached a consensus that plastic waste needed to be curbed, and an agreement was signed by over 200 countries, including India.
According to a report by the United Nations Environment Program, if current pollution rates are to run unchecked, then there will be more waste than fish in the sea by 2050.
Speaking to Reuters, Environment Minister of Norway, Vidar Helgesen, described the country’s first-hand experiences with the effects of plastic waste in the ocean.
“We found microplastics inside mussels, which is something we like to eat. In January this year, a fairly rare species of whale was stranded on a beach because of exhaustion, and they simply had to kill it. In its tummy they found 30 plastic bags”, he said.
Delegates are optimistic that the resolution will make way for legally-binding contracts in the future. In fact, China, the most significant producer of plastic is already putting in place several measures to make a difference, UNEP head Erik Solheim told Reuters.
Countries have agreed to start monitoring the amount of waste that goes into the ocean, providing a foundation for later discussions and modifications.