NAIROBI — China is strategically positioned to spearhead global efforts to tackle plastic pollution, a UN Environment official said on the World Environment Day on June 5.
Heidi Savelli Soderberg, a program officer at UN Environment, told Xinhua that China’s stewardship is needed to revitalize action on plastic waste that is choking oceans, fresh water bodies and biodiversity hotspots.
“As the UN member state with the biggest population, China can take on a leadership role by implementing policies domestically that address plastic pollution upstream,” Soderberg remarked during an interview with Xinhua.
The theme of the 2018 World Environment Day is “beat plastic pollution,” which aimed to raise awareness on the environmental and health challenges posed by haphazard disposal of non-biodegradable waste.
Soderberg noted that the global plastic pollution menace is yet to abate hence the need for bold action to reverse the trend.
Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic leak into oceans, while plastic production is estimated to increase by as much as 40 percent in the next ten years, according to Soderberg.
She regretted that plastic waste is causing havoc to land and sea-based animals through indigestion while devastating livelihoods of coastal communities.
Soderberg emphasized that enactment of robust policies and legislation alongside political goodwill is key to boost response to plastic menace.
She hailed China for making a new pledge to fight pollution during the national environment assembly held towards the end of May.
“It is very promising to see that China is putting pollution high in its domestic policy agenda, and we look forward to see how the country moves forward on this,” Soderberg remarked.