The Norwegian government has proposed increasing this year’s funding for Norway's development program to combat marine litter by NOK 130 million (USD 16 million, EUR 13.7 million). The revised budget nearly doubles the initial allocation to a total NOK 280 million (USD 34.5 million, EUR 29.4 million).
Nikolai Astrup, Norway’s minister of international development, said the program was a key element of the government's general focus on the oceans and was making “an important contribution” to the global efforts for clean and healthy oceans.
The government cites marine plastic litter as one of the most serious environmental problems today, with an estimated 8 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste entering the world's oceans annually. It said this volume is expected to double by 2030 and quadruple by 2050, and further highlighted that between 80 and 90 percent of the waste originates on land.
In many developing countries, particularly those that are experiencing rapid economic growth, waste quantities are increasing but there are no proper waste management systems that can prevent plastic waste from ending up in the sea, it said.
“Unless the world changes course, there is a risk that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea 30 years from now. Our development program is a key contribution to efforts to prevent plastic and other litter from developing countries from ending up in the sea,” said Astrup.
“Taking the lead in this field also means persuading others to follow. As part of the development program, the government has therefore taken the initiative for a World Bank multi-donor trust fund to combat marine litter. This fund will support the development of sustainable waste management systems in developing countries. I have been talking to the World Bank and to potential donors, both other countries and private businesses, about the fund. So far the responses have been positive.”
In addition to preventing waste through sustainable waste management, the program will be used to transfer knowledge about marine litter and to facilitate effective programs for cleaning up and retrieving litter.
The increase in government funding for clean and healthy seas is an important Norwegian contribution to efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, said Astrup.