On February 23, 2017 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched a new global campaign called #CleanSeas, addressing governments, industry, and consumers to reduce and end marine plastic pollution. The #CleanSeas campaign aims to eliminate the main sources of marine litter, such as microbeads in cosmetics and single-use plastic items, by 2022. Ten countries have already joined the campaign: Belgium, Costa Rica, France, Grenada, Indonesia, Norway, Panama, Saint Lucia, Sierra Leone, and Uruguay. The campaign urges governments to pass plastic reduction policies (e.g. ban or tax single-use plastic bags), prompts industry to minimize plastic packaging and redesign products (e.g. promote recyclable packaging and reusable products), and calls on consumers to change their consumption and waste disposal habits (e.g. choose reusable shopping bags and water bottles).

More than 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans each year, costing at least U.S.$8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems, UNEP explains. Up to 80% of all litter found in the oceans is made of plastic, including items such as plastic bottles, bags, and cups, UNEP further illustrates.

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UNEP (February 23, 2017). “UN declares war on ocean plastic.

UNEP (2017). “Clean seas.

Nuala Sawyer (February 23, 2017). “United Nations announces new global campaign to clear plastic from oceans.San Francisco Examiner

ACC (February 23, 2017). “Plastic makers support efforts to eliminate ocean plastics.

Steve Toloken (February 24, 2017). “UN Environment declares war on ocean plastics, lobbies for product bans and taxes.Plastics News

Climate Home (February 25, 2017). “UNEP: Clean up of the world’s oceans could boost economy.