The first meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Micro plastics established by the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya was conducted from Tuesday 29th – Thursday 31st May 2018. The representative from St. Kitts and Nevis was Tricia Greaux, MMA and Habitat Monitoring Officer -Department of Marine Resources.
Tuesday 29 May, the Permanent Mission of Mexico to UNEP currently chairs the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) also met to determine which country would serve as the representative of the GRULAC. Columbia received an overwhelming vote to be selected as the Co-Chair of the Ad hoc Open-ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Micro plastics.
The #BeatPlasticPollution campaign that was also promoted during the conference. Delegates were encouraged to use their social media platforms, personal and professional, to promote the message of reducing single use plastic.
The delegate would lend her expertise to the organizing of the 2nd annual St. Kitts and Nevis Plastic Free July month of activities to further spread the message #BeatPlasticPollution on a national level.
Exert from the position paper presented from St. Kitts and Nevis’ delegate
St. Kitts and Nevis should be described as a large oceanic state as its marine space exceeds the land mass by a significant acreage. Therefore, pollutants within the marine environment are of dire concern to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
As the Officer responsible for Marine Management Area and Habitat Monitoring, I have observed a number of major barriers to combating marine litter and micro plastics include the lack of access to recycling plants on a national, regional or international level and the need for a national level ban on plastic with an effective transition and implementation process that will ensure nationwide buy in and compliance. Also the lack of proper legislation, regulations, policies and enforcement of issues surrounding marine litter and micro plastics as well as high tariffs on imported sustainable alternatives to plastics. There is also a noted lack of awareness of what marine litter and micro plastics are and the effects of their presence within the seas and oceans.