G20 environment ministers agree to tackle marine plastic waste

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Reduction of marine plastic trash was one of the major issues at the G20 summit of environment ministers in Japan.The Group of 20 major economies agreed on a deal to reduce marine pollution at a meeting of their environment ministers in Karuizawa, Japan.

The host nation “proposed a workable framework” on how to deal with ocean trash in emerging and less developed countries.

According to Yoshiaki Harada, Japan’s environment minister, “I am glad that we, including emerging countries and developing countries, were able to form a broad international framework,” told a news conference.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wanted his country to be a leader in reducing marine plastic waste by using biodegradable material and other technological innovations.

Images of plastic debris-strewn beaches and stomachs of dead fish full of plastic materials have sparked global outrage, with environmental activists calling for stricter action to deal with the environmental hazard.

Under the agreed framework, G20 member states are tasked with promoting a comprehensive approach to prevent and reduce plastic waste discharge to the oceans and share their best practices with other nations.

Japan plans to host a follow-up meeting to review the efforts at the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue this autumn.

Stable energy supplies

G20 environment ministers also discussed the issue of energy security in the wake of recent oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman, with Japan’s industry minister, Hiroshige Seko, expressing concern over fuel supplies.