PRETORIA– South Africa has pledged to support the United Nations global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter such as plastic bagss.

According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), more than eight-million tonnes of plastic leaks into the ocean every year.

The campaign was launched at the World Ocean Summit held in Bali, Indonesia, recently. The#Clean-Seas campaign calls on governments to adopt police to reduce the use of plastic and South Africa and Cameroon are the latest to declare a tax on plastic bags.

The UN High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development is meeting at the UN headquarters in New York City from July 9 to July 18 with the ministerial meeting of the forum taking place from July 16 to 18.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa is representing South Africa at the forum.

I had my team coming from the Antarctica a year ago and they showed me samples of the plastics that have reached that part of the world and the oceans and it looked very scary,” said Molew here recently.

“If we don’t do anything about this, half of the oceans will be full of plastics. Oceans are a source of life and if we let the plastics go in the oceans and land that’s a big problem. We are working hard around that as well.”

The implementation of measures to mitigate the negative impact of climate change and governments’ efforts to protect biodiversity will be assessed during the United Nations high-level ministerial meeting in New York.

Molewa said: The mission to New York is about the meeting to evaluate how we are performing in implementing sustainable development goals. Bio-diversity of the oceans and land is extremely important. So it’s important that sustainable development goals are adhered to and implemented and that’s what we are going to evaluate there.