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According to global leaders gathered at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, the world is facing a “ocean emergency.” The summit, co-hosted by the Kenyan government, aims to forge agreements that will put a stop to the estimated 11 million metric tons of plastics that enter the waters each year.

However, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes certain countries’ “egoism” is hampering attempts to curb ocean-bound waste via a worldwide convention similar to the one agreed early this year on plastic pollution.

“Sadly, we have taken the ocean for granted, and today we face what I would call an ocean emergency. We must turn the tide,” he says.

The summit comes after a failed attempt in March of this year, when leaders failed to achieve an agreement on how to administer and safeguard the 64 percent of the high seas that are outside national boundaries. Approximately 1.2 percent of the seas are now protected against illicit fishing, garbage dumping, deep-sea mining, and other activities that pollute the oceans and harm marine life.

The formation of an ocean treaty, according to Dr. Alex Rogers, science director of Rev Ocean, an ocean research NGO, is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

Source: Packaging Insight

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