UNITED NATIONS, Apr 08 (APP):The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has partnered with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and 30 countries in a major initiative to tackle marine litter and clean up the world’s oceans.

The ‘GloLitter Partnerships Project’ is being implemented by FAO in partnership with the IMO, with initial funding from the Government of Norway through the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

FAO said GloLitter will assist developing countries in identifying opportunities to prevent and reduce marine litter, including plastic litter, from the maritime transport and fisheries sectors.

The project aims to decrease the use of plastics in these industries and identify opportunities to recycle plastics, to better protect our fragile marine environment, as well as lives and livelihoods in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 that is committed to prevent and reduce marine pollution and conserve and use the oceans sustainably.

“Plastic litter has a devastating impact on marine life and human health,” Manuel Barange, FAO’s Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture, said in a statement. “This initiative is an important step in tackling the issue and will help protect the ocean ecosystem as well as the livelihoods of those who depend on it.”

The GloLitter project will help countries apply best practices for the prevention and reduction of marine plastic litter, in an effort to safeguard the world’s coastal and marine resources.

Actions will include encouraging fishing gear to be marked so that it can be traced if lost or discarded at sea.

Another focus will be on the availability and adequacy of port reception facilities and their connection to national waste management systems.

“Marine litter is a scourge on the oceans and on the planet”, Jose Matheickal, Head of the IMO’s Department for Partnerships and Projects, said. “I am delighted that we have more than 30 countries committed to this initiative and working with IMO and FAO to address this issue.”

The nations taking part in the GloLitter project are in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific.

They will also receive technical assistance and training, as well as guidance documents and other tools to help enforce existing regulations.

The project will promote compliance with relevant international instruments, including the Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear, and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which contains regulations against discharging plastics into the sea.