This past weekend, G20 countries agreed to a deal to reduce marine plastic pollution. This landmark deal was agreed in Japan, by the G20 country’s Energy and Environment Ministers.
Plastic found in our oceans is projected to treble from 2015 levels by 2025, creating fatal consequences for marine creatures.
The voluntary framework, to reduce plastic waste, includes strategies designed to aid developing countries in making changes.
The ‘G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastics Litter’ aims to promote a life-cycle approach, in order to effectively reduce plastic pollution entering the oceans. Achieving this through promoting resource efficiency, sustainable use of materials, a circular economy and waste to value approaches.
A circular economy approach is in contrast with the traditional linear economy, where items are disposed of after use and thus must be remade. Whereas, this approach aims to keep resources in use for as long as possible, eventually recovering and regenerating the materials at the end of their lifecycle.
The G20 was established in 1999, consisting of the world’s leading industrialised and emerging economies. The countries involved include the UK, India, China, Mexico and the EU among others.
The G20 host summits as a forum for economic co-operation, with the G20 countries representing >80% of the global GDP. The summits have progressed to cover global issues, such as plastic pollution, that have a significant impact on the global economy.
Japan’s Environment Minister, Yoshiaki Harada, expressed his pride in the achievement: “I’m glad that we, including emerging countries and developing countries, were able to form a broad international framework.”
Hiroaki Odachi, from Greenpeace Japan, said the deal was “the first step towards resolving the issue”, but said, “given the critical situation of ocean pollution with plastics, it is urgently necessary to set up legally binding action plans with clear timelines and goals.”