A new $515 million (£420m) initiative to help reduce marine pollution and sustainably manage hazardous chemicals in 33 small island developing states (SIDS) has been launched.
The Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-chemical Development in Small Island Developing States Programme (ISLANDS) will help island developing states in the Atlantic, Caribbean, Indian and Pacific ocean regions to prevent the release of more than 23,000 metric tons of toxic chemicals and more than 185,000 metric tons of marine litter by 2027.
Due to many islands’ small size, limited disposal capacity and prohibitive export costs, more than 80% of mismanaged waste in SIDS ends up in the ocean, according to UN reports.
That leads to biodiversity loss, acceleration of climate change effects through emissions from waste and health impacts for local people exposed to the pollution.
Led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), ISLANDS will support 33 participating countries control the import of hazardous substances, dispose of harmful chemicals and waste and establish circular production systems in partnership with the private sector.
Anita Montoute, Permanent Secretary of Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development said: “ISLANDS represent an unprecedented opportunity for SIDS – for all stakeholders, including governments, businesses and communities, to come together and work collaboratively to improve the health of our fragile environments.
“The outcomes of this programme will undoubtedly be felt for generations to come.”