Reasons To Be Cheerful #9

Featuring plastic, policy, coke bottles and tuna tins, here’s a quick rundown of some great stuff that happened for the sea in February.

UN launches ‘Clean Seas’ to combat global marine plastic pollution

An exciting new UN campaign has just launched to tackle marine plastic on a global scale. The UN ‘Clean Seas’ programme is encouraging governments, industries and consumers to step up and tackle marine plastic pollution. The campaign is focusing on getting governments on board with making ocean-friendly policy changes, getting industries to clean up or reduce their packaging production and tackling the throwaway society mindset we often have as consumers. Computer giant Dell is taking action under the ‘Clean Seas’ campaign. Starting in April 2017, they’re going to be incorporating ocean plastics in with other plastics to make packaging trays for their laptops. There are already 10 countries signed up to the Clean Seas campaign, and they’re making big changes to the way they do all things plastic. Indonesia has pledged up to $1 billion per year to drastically cut down on marine plastic pollution. They’re aiming for a massive 70% reduction in marine waste in 8 years – a super ambitious target but a great one to have.

Delhi bans single-use plastic

The National Green Tribunal of India has banned single-use plastics in Delhi. This is huge news because it’s thought that India is one of the biggest marine plastic polluters in the world, and so creating a ban on wasteful single-use plastic in the area will help to stem the pollution pile-up. Often plastic ends up in landfill and is burnt, giving off harmful gases, so the less plastic that is discarded in Delhi in the future, the fewer gases will be released into the atmosphere causing air pollution. Prevention is better than cure in the case of marine plastic, and this move to ban highly wasteful and environmentally-damaging single-use plastics will hopefully be a real step forward in the mission to curb marine plastic to combat marine and air pollution.

Coca-Cola show the oceans some love

There’s great news from the drinks industry this month as Coca-Cola have said that they now support the idea of a well-managed Deposit Return Scheme for their drinks bottles. As such a huge name in the drinks world, and therefore a huge producer of single-use plastic, this change of heart by the company has the potential to have a really positive impact on the oceans. Deposit Return Schemes work on the basis that you pay a bit more when you buy a plastic bottle, but then if you return it to a designated place then you get that money back.  It’s hoped that it’ll increase the amount of bottles that are recycled and so reduce the amount of bottles that are littered, often ending up at sea.

 Let’s talk tuna

The Co-op have changed up their tuna sourcing policies, by raising the level of certification that they require for their own-brand pole and line sourced tuna. Their own-brand tuna now must come from either a Marine Stewardship Council certified fishery (a well-managed and sustainable one), or a fishery that is part of a fisheries improvement project (FIP) (one that doesn’t quite meet the targets, but is well on the way). What’s particularly great is that the Co-op are using this opportunity to widen their sourcing policies to encourage suppliers of tinned tuna to up their sustainability. Co-op have said that they will stock Princes and John West tuna in their stores, two brands who are known for being some of the least sustainable tuna suppliers, but only if their tuna is sourced from fisheries improvement projects before the end of 2017. So they’re incentivising the brands to up their game and take steps to ensure that their tuna fisheries are sustainable, which is good for business but even better for the tuna.

 Waitrose is also imposing sustainability deadlines on their suppliers, and making tuna-friendly policy changes to make sure that only pole and line caught, or MSC certified tuna is given shelf space by the end of 2017.

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