Japan proposes U.N. working group to tackle microplastics pollution

04, Mar. 2019

TOKYO, Kyodo - Japan has submitted to the United Nations a draft resolution to establish a working group for coordinating efforts toward combating ocean microplastics pollution, people close to the matter said Saturday.

Norway has tabled a similar resolution, and the two countries have been discussing combining their proposals for the fourth session of the U.N. Environmental Assembly in Nairobi starting on March 11, they said.

The resolution, if adopted, would create a new international framework to accelerate study on and promote measures to tackle the emerging issue for food security and marine life.

Japan and the United States have faced criticism for refusing to sign the Ocean Plastics Charter aimed at making all plastics recyclable by 2030 at the Group of Seven summit in Canada in June last year. Japanese government officials said then that proposed steps in the Canada-led charter could adversely affect Japan's plastics industry and consumers and that more time is needed for preparation.

In its draft resolution, Japan calls for a review of international efforts to deal with plastics waste and their effectiveness, the sources said.

It also proposes discussions on financial and technological support between countries, and monitoring of pollution and its impact on human health by the United Nations Environment Program, they said.

Over 8 million tons of plastic waste is estimated to flow into the oceans every year and cause microplastics pollution. (Kyodo)