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05 Dec 2017

Global agreement on ocean plastic pollution

Posted in Latest news

WWT is delighted global governments have agreed the world should stop putting plastic waste into our oceans.

At a United Nations conference in Kenya, international environment ministers agreed the wording to a Resolution which, while not legally binding, will set a direction for countries to follow. The UN will set up an international task force to maintain momentum. The agreement is due to be ratified and published tomorrow.

Alongside the environment ministers, non-governmental organisations including WWT are attending in order to advise and provide background evidence. Among them is WWT’s Head of Ecosystem Health Dr Ruth Cromie:

Speaking outside the conference in Nairobi, Dr Cromie said:

“There are estimates that by 2050 there is going to be more plastics in the sea than fish. This Resolution calls for more government action but the important thing is it clearly encourages people to do the right thing. I think it’s down to all of us to minimise the plastics we’re using – like refill the water bottle you’re using – we just don’t need to use quite as much.”


The UN’s spokesman Sam Barratt told BBC News:

“Of course we would have liked to have gone further, but this meeting’s made real progress. There’s now a sense of urgency and energy behind the issue that we haven’t quite seen before.

“What is obvious, though, is that the UN can’t solve this problem on its own. We need to do it in partnership with governments, businesses and even individuals.”

WWT’s Head of PR and Communications Peter Morris says today’s agreement in Nairobi affects us all wherever we live:

Plastic litter in a stream in Slough

“We talk about the damage from plastics in the oceans. But much of it has come from people discarding it where they live, in the first place. Simple gravity takes it into water channels and eventually the sea.


“I took this photo of the Salt Hill stream in Slough where WWT has a wetland project. We need to see the connection that this same litter damages wildlife where we live, downstream from where we live, and in the oceans too.”