President of the UN Environment Assembly and Minister of Environment of Estonia, Siim Kiisler has urged world nations to initiate policy change to tackle the problem of plastic pollution affecting the marine environment.
The calls coming amid revelation that, an average of 8 million tones of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans every year.
At Gigiri, Nairobi County the 4th session United Nations Environment conference kicked off with a moment of silence for the victims of Sunday’s Ethiopia Airlines crash that left 157 passengers dead.
At least 19 officials affiliated with the United Nation’s and who were on their way to the conference were among those killed in the crash. The crush also took away the lives of 32 Kenyans who were en-route to Nairobi.
But the somber mood however did not distract the theme of the international environmental forum, with Siim Kiisler who also doubles as the Minister of Environment of Estonia, appealing for new policies, technologies and innovative solutions that would help reduce plastic pollution in the oceans.
Kiisler said the over 170 nations participating in Nairobi must consider Public-Private-Partnerships to protect marine environment to benefit from the blue economy.
“At this Assembly, we are focusing on how to consume and produce sustainably and on innovative solutions to address environmental challenges. Even more than anywhere, results in global environmental policy can only be achieved in collaboration. Evidence shows that we need to strengthen our efforts collectively and urgently”, he said.
He further said that over 2 billion people globally lack access to solid waste management services with 8 million tones of plastics making their way to the oceans annually.
UN Environment’s Acting Director Joyce Msuya called on nations to step up and deliver as a matter of urgency to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development.
Msuya reiterated the need for nations to embrace policy change to strengthen the global momentum on aquatic plastic litter.
She added that it will require political goodwill from those countries which have recently been blamed for being a gateway through which plastic bags are making their way to the country.
“We also need smart urban planning since a third of us live in the cities globally, in addition stop over reliance on fossil fuels as a primary source of energy to tackle challenges to the environmental conservation. We need to move quickly to a low carbon, green economy that by 2050 reduces fossil fuel use by 80%. It is time to be kinder to the environment in how we produce food, reducing the environmental impact of food production by two thirds”, she said.
She continued to say that the world needs to achieve a near- zero waste economy by 2050 that circularity must be the driving force of the future that we want.
Over 4,700 delegates including 8 heads of state and 88 ministers from over 170 countries are in attendance.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron are expected to grace the event later in the week when they will co-chair the One planet Summit.