"My participation in this fifth edition is a demonstration that Chile adopts its policy of protection and conservation of the oceans in a coherent manner and with a long-term vision". With these words, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Ampuero, opened his speech in the plenary on Maritime Pollution, within the framework of the Our Ocean Conference, which took place in Bali, Indonesia. The event, which began on Monday, October 29 and ended today, brought together leaders, businessmen and representatives of civil society from around the world, with the aim of establishing commitments and reaching solutions to tackle ocean pollution.
The Chancellor presented to the international community five actions developed by Chile to promote the protection of the oceans and the environment. Thus, the Minister gave details about the law that prohibits the use of plastic bags in order to reduce the amount of waste that is deposited in the ocean. "The law contributes to a significant reduction in the negative effects associated with climate change, reducing the carbon footprint that Chileans generate by using, on average, more than 200 single-use plastic bags per year, per capita," he said.
In addition, he referred to the campaign "Chao Bombillas", explaining that it is an initiative that seeks to raise public awareness about the massive use of straws, promoting the limited use of these as a way to move towards an ocean free of plastics.
He also alluded to the process of cleaning up Chile's coasts. "With the aim of raising awareness about garbage in the ocean, the Ministry of the Environment, together with the Chilean Navy, has been carrying out, since 2011, an annual garbage collection campaign that aims to include the cleaning of almost all of our beaches," he said.
He also addressed the holding of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in our country during 2019 and the various actions to protect the environment that will be addressed there. "The issue of marine litter and more sustainable management of waste on land has been present in APEC debates and has been included in the declarations of recent years. A concrete example is 'Plastic Less', an initiative that proposes a series of actions to move towards a plastic-free APEC in forums, workshops and other activities. During Apec Chile 2019, we would like to advance this initiative by establishing a High Level Dialogue on the critical issue of sustainable oceans," he said.
Finally, Minister Ampuero referred to the extended producer responsibility law, passed in Chile, which seeks to establish an efficient public policy for waste management. "With this milestone, Chile takes a historic first step, becoming the first Latin American country to adopt this type of legislation. The new law will increase the country's reuse rates, currently 10%, thus reducing the volume of waste sent to sanitary landfills, landfills and the ocean".
As part of his participation in the final day of the Our Ocean Conference, the Minister also participated in the High Level Meeting "Global Efforts to Reduce Harmful Fisheries Subsidies by 2020" organized by the governments of Chile, Indonesia and the Pew Foundation.