The president of the United Nations General Assembly has launched a new global call to action to help end plastic pollution in the oceans.
María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés told journalists at U.N. Headquarters in New York on Dec. 4 that her "campaign against plastic pollution" was a priority during her year in office and aimed to hold both consumers and decision-makers accountable.
The campaign will target phasing out of single-use plastics such as water bottles, and raising awareness of the impact plastic pollution has on human and environmental health, she added.
The program, according to the president, is comprised of two elements: global advocacy, and internal initiatives to reduce plastics use within the U.N.
“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. This will include complementary efforts by U.N. Environment, Global Citizen and National Geographic, amongst others,” Espinosa Garcés said.
According to the U.N.'s climate agency, U.N. Environment (UNEP), more than 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in the ocean annually. This is equal to dumping one truckload of plastic waste per minute in the marine ecosystem, at a cost of around $8 billion.
The move follows a recent UNEP Global Plastics Platform campaign which was launched during the General Assembly week in September.
The platform, supported by the European Union, encourages new commitments to reduce plastic pollution and explores innovative ways to change the habits of design, production, consumption and disposal of plastics around the world.