Plastics industry leaders from across the world met this week in Dubai to create a global action plan for solutions on marine litter. This action plan describes actions to be taken and progress to be reported by signatories in 2012. Today approximately 100 projects have been identified, which will be carried out in 32 countries, in addition to the global activities supported by all signatories.
Recognizing that solutions to marine litter will require global cooperation, the plastics industry is inviting other interested stakeholders to join in these actions and others to prevent marine litter. Wilfried Haensel, executive director of PlasticsEurope said the meeting was “a great step forward by these plastics industry leaders through committing to the global action plan for solutions on marine litter.” He added that “The global plastics industry is determined to do its part and to play a constructive role in building new partnerships to create solutions to the issue of marine litter.”
“Plastics makers from around the globe agree that our products don’t belong in world’s oceans,” said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. “And, plastics are valuable resources even after use. We look forward to doing our part and working with partners to implement solutions that keep more valuable plastics in productive use through improved stewardship and expanded infrastructure to grow recycling and energy recovery.”
The activities undertaken by the global plastics industry will be publicly available at: www.marinelittersolutions.org. The website has been launched in English, and will over time display the content in different languages.
The “Declaration for Solutions on Marine Litter” has been adopted by 54 plastics industry organisations so far. It outlines a six-point strategy for industry action, and advocates close cooperation with a broad range of stakeholders to create solutions for the marine environment. By way of example, initiatives where our industries already have been involved include: Vacances Propres in France, Keep America Beautiful in the US, Cool Seas in the UK, and the International Coastal Cleanup in South Africa. These initiatives will serve as a catalyser for further action in other regions.
Amongst the activities that the industry is implementing within the joint declaration is a partnership with The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP). GESAMP is an advisory body to the United Nations (UN) system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection. The plastics industry has committed to support GESAMP’s effort to evaluate the sources, fate and effects of micro-plastics in the marine environment. “We are proud to join the GESAMP initiative as one part of our industry’s effort to better understand and prevent marine litter”, Haensel said.