Leaders from plastics organizations across the globe have announced that there are approximately 185 projects planned, underway, or completed as part of the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter (Global Declaration), a public commitment by the global plastics industry to tackle plastic in the marine environment. The announcement came with the release of the plastics industry’s annual progress report, which documents the projects underway around the world.
The Global Declaration, signed in March 2011 at the 5th International Marine Debris Conference in Honolulu, HI, was originally signed by 47 plastics associations from regions across the globe. Recognizing their important role in fighting marine litter, these plastics associations launched and support projects in six key areas aimed at contributing to 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.
“This is a tremendous increase in participation, considering where we started,” says Steve Russell, Vice President of Plastics for the American Chemistry Council. “As an industry, we have an important role in contributing sustainable solutions for marine litter.”
“Across the globe and in a remarkably short amount of time, we’ve seen a ramp up of programs that address marine debris, many of which involve cooperation with governments, non-governmental organizations, researchers, and other stakeholders,” says Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope. “The cooperation between different stakeholders is crucial to tackle this very serious issue and we believe is the right path to follow.”
Since initiating the Global Declaration, signatories have identified numerous specific actions designed to fulfill these commitments and have agreed to track and report progress. In 2013 the Global Declaration also became part of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global Partnership on Marine Litter.
Today, 60 associations in 34 countries have signed on to the Global Declaration, and the 180 projects underway, planned, or completed (as of December 2013), represent a nearly 90% increase in the number of projects since the Global Declaration’s announcement.