New Zealand signs up to international CleanSeas campaign

New Zealand has joined the United Nations-led CleanSeas campaign to rid our oceans of plastic, Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.

Ms Sage signed a pledge showing New Zealand’s commitment to the global CleanSeas campaign at the Volvo Ocean Race Village in Auckland. More than 40 other countries have already signed up.

“Turtles and other wildlife are being killed by litter in our oceans. Also the issue of microplastic in our oceans and its effect on the food chain is a concern for all species and is a potential risk to human health. New Zealand is proud to be joining this campaign to stop this from happening,” Ms Sage said.

“Scientists estimate that there are over 150 million tonnes of plastics in the ocean today. If nothing changes then plastic in oceans will weigh more than all the fish that live in them by 2050.

 “By signing up to the CleanSeas campaign, we are making it clear that New Zealand wants to be part of the solution to this problem.”

 Johan Salén, Volvo Ocean Race Co-President, welcomed the commitment.

 “I would like to congratulate the New Zealand Government on joining the United Nations-led CleanSeas campaign to address the impacts plastics are having on our oceans,” he said.

 “By individuals, businesses, NGOs and governments, such as New Zealand’s, working together we can find innovative solutions to educate, innovate and leave a lasting legacy that will help address this plastic problem.”

 Ms Sage said the Government was taking steps to prevent litter entering oceans by hitting it at its source on land.

 Measures included:

         Banning products containing plastic microbeads – this will come into effect in June.
         Developing options to get rid of single use plastic bags.
         Supporting data gathering on marine debris along our coastlines and oceans.
         Funding initiatives through the Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) including Keep New Zealand Beautiful, Sustainable Coastlines and the Packaging Forum.
         Reviewing implementation of the Waste Minimisation Act to use its powers better and promote waste minimisation.

“This Government has pledged to significantly reduce waste to landfill by 2020. It’s an ambitious goal and will take a concerted effort.

 “We need to move to a circular economy where we make, use and return products and materials instead of the current model where we take resources, use them, then dispose of them. That is the focus of the latest round of the Waste Minimisation Fund which I also announced today.”

 At the launch Minister Sage will meet New Zealander Bianca Cook, who is a crew member aboard the Turn the Tide on Plastic boat. Cook is the first Kiwi woman to sail in the Volvo Ocean Race since 2001/02.

During the race, the Turn the Tide on Plastic crew members hope to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans and are testing salinity, dissolved CO2, algae and microplastics levels in the ocean.

“It’s great to see the Volvo Ocean Race supporting the CleanSeas campaign. We all need to work together to stop plastic going into our oceans. We can all play a part by kicking the plastic bag habit and not buying drinks in plastic bottles.”

Further information:

The CleanSeas campaign was launched by the UNEP in February 2017.

The campaign aims to engage governments, the general public, civil society and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic by reducing the use of non-recoverable and single-use plastics.

CleanSeas campaign visit: http://cleanseas.org/

Waste minimisation http://www.mfe.govt.nz/waste

 

Latest Environment Announcements

Story

Make it a shore thing – Bird of the Year 2021

The Green Party is calling on people to go dotty for dotterel and vote for the New Zealand Dotterel/Tūturiwhatu as Bird of the Year 2021.
Read More

Story

Waste strategy needs to learn from nature

Anything less than a transformational national waste strategy and waste legislation will not be enough, the Green Party said today.
Read More

Story

RMA reform must ensure a healthy environment and community wellbeing

The Green Party welcomes the release of the first draft of part of new legislation to replace the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), and urges the...
Read More

Story

Greens welcome progress on hard to recycle and single use plastics, but more needs to be done

The Green Party welcomes progress on the phase-out of some hard to recycle plastics and some single-use plastics, but says more must be done.
Read More

Story

Stronger biosecurity protections at our border and for our iconic kauri

$28 million (as part of $32 million over five years) to roll out a National Pest Management Plan to protect kauri from dieback. $8.9 million for a...
Read More

Story

Green Party dismayed at delay in intensive winter grazing regulations

“The Government’s decision to cave into agribusiness and delay the implementation of critical regulations on intensive winter grazing is a bad outc...
Read More