Plastic pollution in the Arctic shows that plastic in the oceans is a vast and global problem that calls for an international response. This was the message of Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, in his closing address at the International Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and the Sub-Arctic Region, held by the Government of Iceland and the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Mr. Guðbrandsson said that the symposium had given a comprehensive overview of the latest information on plastics in the Arctic. „We need solid facts and the insights they provide. We need the guidance of science,“ he said and underlined the importance of the Arctic Countries acting on this information.
He said much could be done locally. „Iceland has recently taken major steps. A ban on disposable plastic bags has taken effect with remarkable speed – and with remarkable support from businesses and the general public,“ Guðbrandsson said. „In addition to plastic bags, we have passed a law with a more general ban on disposable items made of styrofoam and other plastics, that will take effect this year.“
Minister Guðbrandsson also stressed that marine plastic pollution is a global challenge which calls for a global agreement on plastic pollution under the auspices of UNEP. „The Nordic Council of Ministers has launched a blueprint of what a plastic treaty could look like and how it could work. I hope it helps us in our task ahead.“