The Group of 20 major economies met in the central Japan resort town of Karuizawa. Ocean pollution was one of the items on their agenda. They agreed to create an international framework for checking Plastic Pollution in the ocean. The media highlights, on a regular basis, the dangers of this present day evil that sees turtles entangled in plastic carry bag or carcass of whales wash up with loads of plastic in their stomachs. Member nations agreed to take voluntary steps to contain this evil because it posed a major threat to the Environment. The agreement came at the end of a two-day meeting of respective environment and energy ministers.

Japan Today reports that the G20 leaders expressed concerns over plastic litter. The plastic in the ocean transforms into microplastics and pose grave risks to marine ecosystems. They also affect the livelihood of all those who are associated with fisheries, tourism, and shipping. There are also health hazards for humans because the microplastics enter the food chain and the results are not too pleasant.

Plastic waste management

The ministers agreed in principle to address the issue of plastic waste.

According to the international framework, it will be the responsibility of each member country to report progress on its voluntary measures. Another aspect is to share solutions because these unwanted materials end up in the ocean and put marine lives under threat. Microplastics can accumulate in fish, and enter the food chain of humans with adverse effects.

United Nations reveals that the amount of plastic waste generated every year is nearly 300 million tons. Out of this, around 8 million tons come to rest in the world's oceans. It would not be right to ignore this. Interestingly, Asian countries contribute most of this waste including China and Indonesia and they are G20 members.

Japan Today goes on to add that the country will plan to talk to businesses to impose a sort of charge for disposable shopping bags by next April. That will help the cause. Many countries have already introduced such measures to restrict the use of such bags. However, the focus must be not only on carry bags but also on all single-use plastic products like cups, plates, forks, spoons, bottles, straws.

These have become mandatory accessories for today’s lifestyle.

There must be priorities identified

According to First Post, members of G20 countries have agreed in principle that there is a need to reduce the plastic waste because they choke the seas. They did not elaborate on how they will achieve the objective but said the steps taken would be voluntary with annual progress reports. The Japanese government could hold the first such meeting in November. An estimated nine percent of plastics ever produced are recycled. In the opinion of campaigners, the only long-term solution to solve this crisis is for companies to produce less and consumers to use less. The main task should be to curtail the production of single-use plastic products.