With the aim of addressing the problem of plastic pollution in a coordinated and global manner, 8 Latin American countries have come together to jointly develop the Marine Litter Action Plan for the Northeast Pacific 2022-2026. Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia are part of the initiative created as a result of the fact that the oceans have become huge deposits of plastic waste. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), 80% of marine litter comes from land-based sources, mainly from plastics associated with food and beverage packaging.
The production and design of products with a high content of unnecessary or single-use plastic, accelerated consumption and inefficient waste management are some of the causes of this plastic epidemic, which produces negative impacts on ecosystems, economies and human well-being. “Although the oceans are essential for the balance of the planet, coastal ecosystems are increasingly vulnerable as a result of human activities, mainly land activities that are the source of 80% of marine litter. It is a global problem and, therefore, the only way to address it is with coordinated and far-reaching solutions”, highlighted Jorge Jiménez, general director of FundaciónMarViva.
The Plan, prepared jointly by representatives of the relevant national authorities of the 8 countries of this subregion, with the support of UNEP, as part of the work of the Global Alliance on Marine Litter, and the MarViva Foundation, analyzes the current situation of marine litter in the region, identifies gaps and opportunities for improvement and generates recommendations regarding the prevention, reduction and proper management of marine litter. Increasing information, monitoring, strengthening enforcement of regulations, raising awareness among the population and making producers responsible for their own waste are some of the priority opportunities identified in the Plan.
MarViva shared some data about this problem:
• 15% of marine litter floats on the sea surface, another 15% is located in the water column and 70% remains on the seabed (UNEP).
• 80% of marine litter comes from land sources, mainly from plastics associated with food and beverage packaging. (UNEP).
• Plastics are the largest, most damaging and most persistent fraction of marine litter, accounting for at least 85% of the total (UNEP).
• Single-use plastic, in turn, can constitute up to 70% of the material found in the seas. (Koreni 2017).
• By 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. (Ellen MacArthur, 2016).
Microplastics of secondary origin are plastic particles less than 5 mm in diameter, found in the environment as a result of the degradation of larger plastics. Other microplastics, of primary origin, are released directly into the environment after being intentionally added to certain products, such as cosmetics or textiles. If the current situation continues, by 2025 it is predicted that 1,303,186 tons of plastic will be present in the marine spaces of the Northeast Pacific region (