Plastic weighing the equivalent of one billion elephants has been created since the 1950s and most of it has ended up in landfill, with only 9% of plastic waste recycled. The material has made many conveniences of modern life possible but it is polluting our ocean with an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean globally each year. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out a path to achieve the elimination of poverty by 2030. SDG 14.1 focuses on the need to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution, mainly from land-based activities, by 2025. Billions of people worldwide —especially the world’s poorest— rely on a healthy ocean to provide jobs and food. We can not end extreme poverty without a healthy ocean. 

As a Global Citizen, you know that your actions and your choices have an incredible impact on the world. That’s why we’re asking you to take practical steps to ensure plastic waste does not end up in the ocean, by reusing, recycling, and reducing your plastic consumption and waste. 

Businesses and government leaders must also do their part. Ask local and national governments to join you and take measures to strengthen waste management, support local Zero Waste Initiatives and back global initiatives such as PROBLUE, a new multi-donor World Bank partnership that addresses marine pollution and supports the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources. Call on corporate and business leaders to reduce the plastic in their packaging, utilize renewable and recyclable materials and join and support coalitions such as the UN Global Compact’s Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform.

Together, we can protect our ocean and ensure that it continues to provide jobs, food and drive economic growth for a growing population.