Marine litter on the Rio agenda
MCS says it's delighted that the development of a global action plan to combat marine litter and pollution is on the agenda at next years United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil.
The event, will mark 20 years since the seminal Earth Summit of 1992, and is regarded as a chance for leaders to put humanity on a sustainable track.
The need for integrated action on marine litter is something MCS has been calling for in the last few years. Scotland and Northern Ireland have already indicated their willingness to start formulating national strategies, which we see as a first essential step to a global plan. Before the last election MCS received a statement from Richard Benyon MP, the now Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries, to the effect that: when in government his party would require DEFRA to draw up a cohesive strategy for dealing with this problem. The statement said this would include input from other Departments and set out clear deliverable objectives and would be led by the new Marine Management Organisation.
Despite MCS' optimism at this point, says Litter Policy Officer Dr Sue Kinsey, little has changed: "No such strategy has been devised despite constant reminders from MCS. With a single use carrier bag levy just introduced in Wales and consultations on the issue planned in Northern Ireland and Scotland, we hope David Cameron's recent comments to retailers to cut plastic bag use is the first step in getting litter and marine litter in particular back on the UK's political agenda."
Prime Minister David Cameron will not be attending the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil next year despite his pledge to lead the "greenest ever government" as the dates coincide with the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Defra minister, Caroline Spelman, will lead the UK's delegation.