The petition for plastic-free oceans handed over to the UN

Helena Laukko handed the petition over to Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli (right) and Alice Hicuburund (left). Phot: WFUNA/Maegan White

The Globeshrinks' petition for plastic-free oceans was handed over today to the UN officials at the Division of the Law of the Seas in New York.

Helena Laukko, the executive director of UNA Finland, handed over the Globeshrinsk petition to Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, who is the director of the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS), and her special advisor Alice Hicuburundi.

Globeshrinks is a campaign of UNA Finland that has worked since 2014 to raise awareness of plastic pollution and its effects on our oceans. Last weekend the leaders of the world signed the new Sustainable Development Goals, and the conservation and sustainable use of the worlds oceans, seas and marine resources is one of the new global goals.

The Globeshrinks petition for plastic-free oceans was singed by 21 organizations and some 4000 individuals.

Goettsche-Wanli thanked the campaign for raising awareness of the problem of plastic pollution. Even though researchers have been well aware of the problem for the last 15 years, it has only risen to the UN agenda in the last years.

The pollution of our oceans is considered in multiple UN treaties, the widest of which is the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, but there still is no comprehensive international legislation that deals with the problem. The Globeshrinks campaign has petitioned that the legislation that deals with plastic pollution would be promoted in international arenas, especially the UN. In Finland the petition was handed over to the Minister of Environment, Kimmo Tiilikainen, last week.

Goettsche-Wanli admitted, that a new agreement to tackle the problem of plastic pollution could be needed, but primarily the challenge is quaranteeing the states that have signed the agreements will also comply with them.

"Now the UN member states have accepted the new sustainable development agenda, and the 14th goal gives us a good opportunity to bring out the state of the worlds oceans in a more comprehensive way," she said, adding that the work has still just started.

Goettsche-Wanli believes it would be important to think if for instance fishing nets coud be produces with different materials, not plastic, and how we could diminish the use of plastic for instance in textile products and cosmetics. Also the plastic that we do produce, should be reused more effectively.

"There is a lot that can be done to promote sustainable consumption. But we also need initiatives that deal with indistries", Goettsche-Wanli said.


Read more about Globeshrinks: www.globeshrinks.net