UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa on Tuesday launched a global campaign against plastic pollution, primarily to raise awareness among peoples around the world.
"I intend to leverage the capacity of the office of the president of the General Assembly to support ongoing global campaigns to beat plastic pollution," Espinosa told reporters at the UN Headquarters in New York.
President of the UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces speaks during the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. [Photo: AP /Czarek Sokolowski]
The campaign has two elements: reduction of plastic waste at the UN system; global advocacy in collaboration with member states and UN agencies for public awareness across the world.
She expressed the hope that single-use plastic could be eradicated at UN premises. There has already been a roadmap for in-house action, she said.
The campaign is a collaboration with the Group of Friends led by Antigua and Barbuda, Norway and other member states as well as UN Environment and other relevant actors.
Gaston Browne, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said his country has put in place a ban on single-use plastic in the past two years and it worked well.
Antigua and Barbuda is the first country in the Caribbean to introduce such a ban, he said. "We want to use our example, our experiences to encourage other countries to follow."
He called on all countries in the world to introduce a ban on single-use plastic.
The prime minister announced that there will be a grand concert in his country in April 2019 to boost awareness of plastic pollution.
Norway's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mari Skare said the use of single-use plastic poses a threat to the oceans and to human health. "Fish eat plastics and humans eat fish, so we have a problem."
There are solutions so long as there is concerted action by consumers, businesses, governments and civil society, she said. "We want to pull our weight in finding good, clean solutions for our common future."
Eighty percent of consumed single-use plastic ends up in the oceans. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, Espinosa stressed.