U.S. to support treaty seeking to curb ocean plastic pollution next year

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The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits the UN Environmental Programme's headquarters in Nairobi during his trip to Kenya, where he met with environmental entrepreneurs and pledged to combat ocean plastic pollution.

Blinken said Washington will push for a global agreement to "combat ocean plastic pollution" at the UN Environmental Assembly next year.

"So today, we're stepping up, stepping up our efforts to tackle another pollutant that threatens our planet — plastic — by announcing the United States' support for multilateral negotiations on a global agreement to combat ocean plastic pollution by launching these negotiations at the UN Environmental Assembly February 2022, our goal is to create a tool that we can use to protect our oceans and all the lives that they sustain from the growing global harm of plastic pollution," Blinken said.

About eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans each year, killing or injuring one million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals, according to UN figures.

Blinken's statement is the latest US effort to ramp up environmental protection under President Joe Biden, who has made the fight against climate change a key domestic priority.

Blinken had on Wednesday met President Uhuru Kenyatta and hailed Kenya’s role in seeking to ease the conflict in Ethiopia and cited Kenya as an example of a vibrant, inclusive democracy despite challenges it has faced in its own recent elections.

He further appealed for the preservation of democracy in politically and ethnically fractured societies citing the worsening crises in Ethiopia and Sudan.

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