Chile, Oman, Sri Lanka, and South Africa have joined UN Environment's CleanSeas campaign against marine litter and ocean pollution, announcing measures including new marine reserves, plastic bag bans, and drives to increase recycling.

The four countries announced their support during the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. The Assembly is expected to announce a raft of measures to counter pollution in all its forms, which is killing millions of people around the world and eroding the natural systems on which all life depends.

 

"Sri Lanka is taking bold action to turn the tide on plastics. We have banned plastic bags and are now working to reduce the number of plastic bottles in the country," said Anura Dissanayake, Minister of Environment for Sri Lanka. "We want to be a green and blue beacon of hope in Asia and do everything we can to keep the seas clean."

 

The commitments made by the newest members of the CleanSeas campaign include:

 

  • Sri Lanka will implement a ban on single-use plastic products from Jan. 1, 2018, step up the separation and recycling of waste, and set the goal of making its ocean and coasts "pollution-free" by 2030.
  • Chile is legislating to extend producer responsibility and encourage recycling and establishing more marine protected areas.
  • Chilean cities are banning plastic bags in advance of a planned national ban.
  • South Africa will step up its beach cleanup program and prioritize action on tires, electronic waste, lighting, and paper and packaging. This includes extended producer responsibility for plastic packaging.

The CleanSeas campaign includes nearly 40 countries and aims to counter the huge amount of plastic trash that is degrading oceans and endangering marine life. The campaign's goal is to "turn the tide on plastic" by inspiring action from governments, businesses, and individuals on ocean pollution.