Beach and waves at Carbis Bay, St Ives, Cornwall.

Despite high hopes, and in the face of considerable pressure to act, the G7 meeting in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, failed to agree a new treaty to combat plastic pollution.

Although the communique on climate and the environment mentioned the problem of marine plastic, leaders of the world’s richest nations effectively put off taking action.

Instead, they pledged to continue efforts to strengthen the conservation, protection and restoration of marine ecosystems and to uphold the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS – which sets out the legal framework for activities in oceans and seas).

They also held out the prospect of agreeing a new international, legally binding instrument which would include an obligation to conserve and sustainably use marine biodiversity – possibly by the end of this year – and they acknowledged the need to tackle the problem of marine plastic litter and microplastics.

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