Approximately 8 million tons of plastic leak into the world’s Ocean every year, where it can harm wildlife, damage ecosystems and slow economic growth. Once it enters the food chain, this pollution can also threaten human health, and at this rate, the amount of plastic littering the seas will outweigh the schools of fish that swim through them by 2050.
Many countries around the world have woken up to the serious impacts of plastic pollution, with 127 nations adopting some form of legislation to regulate this challenge. These policies range widely, from outright bans in the Marshall Islands to progressive phase-outs in Moldova and Uzbekistan to laws that incentivize the use of reusable bags in Romania and Vietnam. However, most states fail to regulate plastic throughout its lifecycle, favoring partial bans over full bans or allowing numerous exemptions.
Yet plastic production isn’t slowing down – it doubled in the last two decades, and experts predict that it will continue to rise in the coming years. To safeguard the Ocean from this pollution, policymakers must step up and urgently reduce the consumption of single-use plastics. But what legislation should countries adopt, and what obstacles stand in the way of decision-makers seeking to implement effective policies?
Speakers will profile innovative reforms and highlight steps that policymakers everywhere can take to accelerate progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14.
Mr. Hugo-Maria Schally, Head of Unit for Multilateral Environmental Cooperation, Directorate General for the Environment, European Commission
Dr. Collins Odote, Lawyer and Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Nairobi
Ms. Andrea A. Jacobs, Attorney, Antigua and Barbuda
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