The plastics industry will generate some international news headlines in the next couple of days, following its "Global Declaration for Solutions on Marine Litter," announced March 22 in Honolulu. The declaration was announced at the 5th International Marine Debris Conference in Honolulu. Plastics News staff reporter Mike Verespej wrote this story, "Plastics associations pledge to cooperate on global marine debris issue," on the announcement, which we posted minutes after it was released. As Mike wrote, the decision to forge a joint agreement among plastics associations began in a meeting after the K show in Germany in October. Some 47 global plastics associations representing groups in 26 countries signed on, including the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. and the American Chemistry Council's plastics division. With SPI's participation, more U.S. plastics processors can feel like they're now taking part in the debate. "SPI and its member companies continue to embrace the concept of sustainability, and I am proud that we have joined with our peer organizations across the globe to make this formal declaration concerning marine debris," SPI President and CEO Bill Carteaux said in a news release. "The plastics industry has always been about creating innovations that meets societal needs. Marine litter is no exception and SPI stands ready to participate with others in problem-solving this issue." Will the declaration make a difference in this issue, which until now has been driven largely by grass-roots environmental groups pushing for taxes and bans on products like plastic bags and polystyrene foodservice products? Sarah Abramson Sikich, coastal resources director for Heal The Bay in Santa Monica, Calif., told Mike that it will not. "Strong regulatory and policy action is needed that prevents trash from getting into waterways in the first place, as well as to promote the use of more sustainable items, like reusable bags and water bottles," she said. "We recommend target trash reductions, bans or charges on the most prevalent items found in aquatic environments be established to truly address the plastic pollution problem."
Taking action on marine debris
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