Five countries agreed to the Ocean Plastics Charter, an annex to the Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas, and Resilient Coastal Communities at the G7 Summit held in Quebec between June 8 and 9.

“The health of our oceans and seas is critical to the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the planet,” says the charter in part. “Oceans and seas play a fundamental role in the global climate system and in supporting communities, jobs, and livelihoods, food security, human health, biodiversity, economic prosperity, and way of life. Oceans and seas, however, re facing many challenges. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and overexploitation of fish stocks threaten our entire species and food security. Marine pollution, including from plastic litter, is compounding the threats facing already degraded marine ecosystems. As set out in the Charlevoix G7 Summit Communique, ocean warming, acidification, and sea-level rise, together with extreme weather events, are affecting communities globally. Arctic and low-lying coastal communities, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS), are among the most vulnerable.”

The blueprint was endorsed by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union.

“Marine debris is a pressing global issue, and ACC is committed to being part of the solution,” the ACC said in a statement released after the summit. “Our plastic makers have set and are working to achieve aggressive goals for the reuse, recycling, and recovery of 100 percent of plastic packaging by 2040, with interim goals by 2030.

To achieve these goals, we will need to work closely with stakeholders and governments, including members of the G7. We look forward to collaborating on a range of activities outlined in the charter––including sustainable design, research, information sharing, and creative new ideas like the Plastics Innovation Challenge––in the months and years ahead. We believe investing in waste-management systems will be critical to making real progress, and we appreciate Canada’s leadership in pledging $100 million to jumpstart that effort.

The ACC says plastics are essential to helping us live safer, more sustainable lives, but they have no place in our oceans or in our environment.

“We know ocean pollution is a large and complex problem,” the council says. “But this problem is solvable if we work together and stay focused on capturing and transforming municipal solid waste at its source.”