The United Nations has agreed on a resolution that asks the world to completely prevent plastic garbage from entering the hydrosphere.
Although it’s not legally enforceable, the resolution – due to be officiated today – would advocate for the formation of an international task force that will help tackle the problem. As reported by BBC News, it’s likely to be the first step toward a global ban on oceanic plastic.
A stronger motion was on the table, one that featured set legally binding targets and timetables, but it was shot down after one single country refused to agree to it: the United States, of course.
Erik Solheim, the UN’s Environment Executive Director, told CBS News: “We need to understand that if we kill our oceans, we also kill ourselves.”
The resolution was agreed upon by delegates at a pollution-focused summit in Nairobi, Kenya. Pollution is the world’s most prolific killer, robbing 9 million people of their lives every single year – most of whom reside in poorer nations.
Astronauts Mae Jemison and Rakesh Sharma recorded a video for the summit that explains how plenty of pollution is now clearly visible from outer space.
“Until we see that we have a shared responsibility, a shared origin, and a shared reliance on the resources of this planet, we don’t have a sustainable future,” Jemison noted.
Plastic pollution, though, is becoming so prevalent, widespread, and viscerally impactful that it’s become the primary talking point in Nairobi at present. Delegates have been sharing grim stories of how it’s being found in every nook and cranny of the world’s seas and oceans – particularly those off the shores of developing or wealthy countries in Southeast Asia.
This isn’t the UN’s first foray into combatting the phenomenon this year. Back in February, the UN launched its Clean Seas initiative, one that hopes to raise awareness of the plastic pollution crisis. Its mission is to target the root cause of the problem – plastic manufacturing – which is stuck in a bygone era.