If you want a glimpse of what governments around the world are thinking on plastics and marine litter, take a look at the commitments they made at the United Nations Ocean Conference in June.
The commitments are voluntary, but 179 governments, NGOs and some companies focused on what they're doing to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans.
Those 179 were part of more than 1,300 total commitments delivered at the forum on a wide range of ocean challenges. The United Nations billed the conference as its first major forum on the health of the oceans. The commitments can be found on the UN Ocean Conference website under "voluntary commitments" tab and then by doing a keyword search for plastics.
The European Union, for example, said it was looking for its new "EU Plastics Strategy," which it expects to finalize this year, to play a big role in stimulating efforts to reduce plastics getting to the ocean.
Indonesia, which is identified as one of the biggest sources of plastic in the oceans because of its thousands of islands and lack of waste collection, said it targeted a reduction of plastic debris 70 percent by 2025, from 2017 levels.
Indonesia's government also said it was planning to spend up to $1 billion over four years to build up waste management collection infrastructure on land and said it was launching a "National Action Plan on Marine Plastic Debris."
Other governments were making similar commitments. Flanders, in Northern Belgium, outlined ways it would try to meet a goal of cutting marine litter it generates 75 percent by 2025.
It said it wanted a "focus on plastics and circular economy" and was investigating improving its sewage treatment plants to capture more microplastics.
The plastics industry was also there. The American Chemistry Council was part of a group, the Trash Free Seas Alliance, which made a commitment to spend at least $10 million by 2020 on research to address problems from plastics in the oceans.
There's a lot going on. Two weeks after the U.N. event, Plastics News Editor Don Loepp moderated a two-day conference in Rhode Island, organized by ACC and featuring addresses from politicians, including U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
Marine litter and plastics have generated a lot of headlines in recent years, like last year's reports that there'd be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050. Less well-known problems, like plastic getting into the food we eat through fish markets in Indonesia and California, was also on the agenda.
Reading the conference commitments offers an interesting look at how governments are translating all of that concern into action.
Toloken is news editor — international at Plastics News. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Toloken.