NAIROBI, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Governments should enact friendly regulations to facilitate growth of social enterprises which seek durable solutions to plastic waste that is choking vital ecosystems, industry leaders said here Tuesday.
A market-led approach is key to reduce plastic litter and spurring growth of the circular economy that is a major source of jobs for the youth, said executives from multinational companies during a side event at the UN Environment Assembly.
Martin Kayser, senior vice president of multinational chemical firm BASF, said that overcoming plastic pollution is possible, subject to investments in infrastructure and training to promote recycling and reuse of non-biodegradable materials.
"We need to expand space for businesses to invest in plastic recycling and unleash health, environmental, and financial benefits linked to the circular economy," said Kayser.
Establishment of an alliance to end plastic waste by more than 30 multinational companies will have positive ripple effects on ecosystems and livelihoods, he added.
"Financial incentives for local governments and communities are paramount to promote sustainable management of plastic waste," said Kayser. "The funding should be accompanied by support for innovation, education, and capacity development required to boost growth of the recycling industry."
Ashok Menon, head of corporate sustainability at Saudi petrochemical manufacturing firm SABIC, said that investors have rallied behind efforts to tackle the global plastic pollution menace that has a negative bearing on their bottom lines.
"Companies that support plastic waste recycling have been able to cement relationship with key stakeholders like regulators and consumer groups. These relationships are at the heart of sustainable businesses," said Menon.
An estimated 8 million tons of plastic waste is dumped into the world oceans every year, according to the UN Environment Programme.