“One Dead Sea Is Enough.” The message, made out of plastic waste, was floated into Jordan’s Dead Sea to launch the country’s new initiative to tackle plastic waste in the world’s oceans and seas.
“We are sending a message from the Dead Sea, from the lowest point on Earth, to the living people,” said Dr Yaseen M. Khayyat, the country’s former Minister of Environment at the launch in November last year. “It says ‘One Dead Sea is enough.’ I think this is a clear message for all.”
The initiative aims to raise awareness of the importance of saving the world’s seas and oceans from pollution and man-made waste, which pose a real danger to marine animals, which often mistake plastic litter for food.
“Jordan currently produces three million tons of waste annually. Of this, 17 per cent is plastic waste, and there are about three billion plastic bags,” said His Excellency Mr. Naif Alfayez, Minister of Environment of Jordan. “Jordan has made waste management and the fight against marine litter one of its national environmental priorities, and a number of important initiatives are being put in place to bring sustainable change on waste generation and waste management.”
Under the EU-funded SwitchMed project, Jordan, with the support of UN Environment, has developed a Sustainable Consumption and Production National Action Plan, based on the country’s priorities for green economic growth and circular economy.
Among the first results of this national action plan are two new regulations: one a bylaw on plastic bag use already put in place by the Government, and the second, a draft law on waste management that is currently before the Parliament.
The Plastic Biodegradable Shopping Bags Bylaw aims to minimize the production, import and circulation of small plastic shopping bags and reduce their impact on the local environment. It requires manufacturers to provide bio-degradable plastic bags, as part of a campaign to combat shopping-bag litter in Jordan.
The Draft Waste Management Framework Law under consideration aims to regulate the waste management sector, reduce pollution, and promote recycling and the safe treatment and disposal of waste. The law would also define the roles and tasks of all the different authorities involved in waste management, and provide a legal umbrella for sustainable investments in the waste sector and support circular economy.