The fifth Progress Report released recently by the Global Plastics Alliance shows that the initiative, launched nine years ago, continues to gather momentum. Since 2011, the number of projects to combat marine litter has increased fourfold, with approximately 395 marine litter prevention projects planned, underway, or completed as of early 2020.
“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.
The Global Plastics Alliance started off with just a handful of plastics industry associations, who jointly drafted and presented a ‘Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter’, also known as the Global Declaration, at the 5th International Marine Debris Conference. The signatories committed to taking action to combat marine debris and to protect the marine environment.
Today, some 80 plastics associations have signed the Global Declaration in 43 countries.
“Solving plastics litter requires global collaboration and bold actions,” stressed Virginia Janssens, Managing Director of PlasticsEurope.
The Global Declaration encompasses six focus areas: education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment. The type of project varies widely, from beach clean ups to expanding waste management capacities, and from global research to awareness and education campaigns.
"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).
One example is the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a consortium of nearly 40 leading global companies, including brands, plastic producers and processors, and waste management companies. The Alliance has earmarked $1.5 billion over the next five years to help end plastic waste in the environment, among others, by promoting infrastructure, education and engagement, innovation, and cleanup efforts, particularly in areas where most of the trash is leaking into the ocean.