Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) issued a joint statement welcoming the G20 Osaka Blue Ocean Vision to end ocean plastics. The G20 countries adopted a Leaders' Declaration on 29 June 2019, with continued resolve to tackle marine litter, especially marine plastic litter and microplastics.
The Leaders’ Declaration on plastic states, that “...we aim to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050 through a comprehensive life-cycle approach that includes reducing the discharge of mismanaged plastic litter by improved waste management and innovative solutions while recognizing the important role of plastics for society.”
Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, said, “Indian industry welcomes the G20’s Osaka Blue Ocean Vision to end plastic leakage into the ocean by 2050 that goes beyond the earlier commitments made by the G20. As an important stakeholder of the G20, we look forward to working with G20 countries to help make this vision a reality.”
Eliminating ocean plastics will require actions on the ground on how plastics are consumed and released into the nature. Since 1950 when mass production and consumption of plastics began, 9.2 billion tonnes of plastics have been produced, 50% of it only since 2000. This is expected to increase to 12 billion tonnes by 2050. Only nine percent is recycled, the rest of it entering natural ecosystems, most of it in the oceans.
While all of the legacy plastic in nature may not be retrieved, the flows in the future could be eliminated. That’s where The G20 Osaka Blue Ocean Vision to phase-out marine litter by 2050 is important.
The announcement will have to be followed up by accelerated investments to develop alternatives to fossil-based plastics, to mainstream bio-based plastics, and to develop solutions to capturing and repurposing used plastics, wide-scale deployment of waste management infrastructure, particularly in areas where the most leakage is occurring, and effective public-private-consumer partnerships.
CII and UNEP, last year, launched a joint initiative The Un-plastic Collective, with the vision to minimise externalities of plastics. The initiative is a collective of private sector, technical organisations, and public sector. Private sector members sign-up to a commitment to measure, act, and disclose plastic consumption and efforts to minimise its impacts on ecological and social health. Companies including Tata Chemicals, Tata Global Beverages, ITC, BigBasket, Hindustan Unilever, Siemens, Volkswagen, Reliance Industries, Essel Propack, ACC, Centre for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship at IIM Ahmedabad, are members of The Un-plastic Collective.
Mr Atul Bagai, Country Head, United Nations Environment Programme, said “Plastic waste is an urgent problem that can be solved with cooperation, innovation, and investment. UNEP has been supporting the Indian government with its policy on marine litter and action plan to achieve the voluntary target to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022.”
The G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration also endorses the G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter that was adopted at the conclusion of the G20 Environment Ministers meeting.
1 July 2019