Global Plastics Alliance announces fourfold increase in projects to combat marine litter

The projects vary widely, from beach clean-ups to expanding waste management capacities, and from global research to awareness and education campaigns

Projects to combat marine litter have grown fourfold. (Image for illustration only)
Projects to combat marine litter have grown fourfold. (Image for illustration only)

Global Plastics Alliance (GPA) released its 5th Progress Report announcing approximately 395 marine litter prevention projects have been planned, underway, or completed as of early 2020. The GPA, a collaboration among plastic industry associations around the world, said the accounting of projects represents an increase of four times the amount since 2011 when the group was formed.

The projects vary widely, from beach clean-ups to expanding waste management capacities, and from global research to awareness and education campaigns.

“We began this important initiative nearly a decade ago and have worked to grow our reach and impact in every region of the world,” said Keith Christman, managing director of plastics markets, American Chemistry Council. “Projects to combat marine litter have grown fourfold and we continue growing the number of stakeholders involved.”

The work began when a handful of plastics industry associations committed to action at the 5th International Marine Debris Conference (5IMDC) by announcing The Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, also known as the 'Global Declaration'.

The latest report reflects work undertaken by 80 plastics associations that have signed the Global Declaration in 43 countries.

"Globally, plastics producers continue to partner with public and private partners to effect meaningful actions to address the problem of ocean plastic pollution," said Callum Chen, secretary general, Asia Plastics Forum (APF). "In APF, we are also engaging the brand owners, upstream resin producers and downstream fabricators in our respective member countries to jointly tackle the global marine litter issue. We encourage sharing of best practices amongst our member countries so that the whole region could grow and improve waste management infrastructure as a solution to this challenge."

“Solving plastics litter requires global collaboration and bold actions,” said Virginia Janssens, managing director of PlasticsEurope. “We need strong partnerships between an interconnected plastics value chain and all stakeholders, be they local, national, or global, to solve this problem and develop innovative, sustainable solutions.”

The six focus areas of the Global Declaration are education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment.

In addition, the global plastics industry continues to move toward more circular systems where resources are used, reused, and recycled to the greatest extent possible. A consortium of nearly 40 leading global companies has formed the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. Representing brand companies, plastic producers and processors, and waste management companies, the alliance has set a goal of deploying $1.5bn over the next five years to help end plastic waste in the environment.

Many of their efforts will focus on developing the waste management infrastructure to capture and repurpose plastics in parts of the world where most of the trash is leaking into the ocean. The alliance is working across the globe to promote infrastructure, education and engagement, innovation, and clean-up efforts.

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