UN Environment to Launch Global Marine Litter Campaign during Economist Summit in Bali

Bali, Indonesia - February 23, 2017

UN Environment is launching a global campaign on marine litter. It will focus on non-recoverable plastics by working towards a ban on microbeads in cosmetics and a drastic reduction in the use of single-use plastics. To reach these ambitious goals, we need strong government action. This means both enacting robust legislation and other relevant policies, as well as supporting on-going efforts from private and civil sector actors to combat marine litter.
In the last 20 years, the proliferation of microbeads and single-use plastics has made the problem even more serious, and unless we act now, our seas will be hit with a plastic-tide caused by human consumption. That’s why, over the next five years, UN Environment will work with governments, the private sector and global civil society to build a global movement to address this crisis.


UN Environment encourages Governments to:

  • Promote marine litter public awareness by:
    • Funding national education, industry and research institutions to take up marine litter science
    • Implementing market and non-market based instruments and incentives to encourage industry and private sector to take more action towards combatting marine litter
    • Encouraging national marine litter public awareness activities such as: beach cleanup days, marine litter awareness days/ hours and hosting and supporting marine litter conferences and events
    • Sharing national lessons learnt and information on marine litter management and reduction
    • Adopting successful best practices used in similar countries concerning marine litter management and reduction as well as influencing upstream sustainable plastic production.
    • Acknowledging national marine litter work done by NGOs and private sector and publicize these good practices globally as case studies that could serve as examples to other stakeholders

  • UN Environment invites Governments to:
    • Partner with UN Environment to implement the global marine litter campaign at a national level by sending a written commitment to the UN Environment’s Executive Director
    • Partner with UN Environment for high-level events to raise the profile of the marine litter issue and the need for action through the campaign
    • Establish National and Regional Marine Litter Action Plans
    • Pioneer national legislation and policies to promote marine litter reduction
    • Set up national plastic management systems to measure their total plastic footprint
    • Establish waste management structures and systems that will help reduce marine litter (even during strong weather events)
    • Join the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML)

  • Government benefits on implementing the above:
    • UN Environment acknowledgement of the Government’s efforts in supporting the Marine Litter Campaign
    • Recognition as Global Marine Litter Reduction Champions
    • Reduced future costs for clean-ups
    • Help halt the loss of biodiversity

Download Clean Seas Campaign brochure for more information.