Marine litter is human-created waste that has been intentionally or unintentionally discharged into the coastal or marine environment. Marine litter is not only unsightly – it can harm ocean ecosystems, wildlife, and humans. Its effects have prompted governments, private enterprises, environmental groups, and countless citizens to take action.
In March 2011, leaders from 47 plastics associations across the globe signed a declaration to combat the causes of marine litter. The Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter (Global Declaration) represented a public commitment by a global industry to tackle a global problem: plastic litter in the coastal or marine environment.
Recognizing that we all have a role in preventing marine litter, these industry leaders identified six work areas for initiatives aimed at contributing to sustainable solutions: education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment. The signatories also agreed to publicly report on progress toward meeting their commitments.
This 2016 Progress Report summarizes the status of commitments made under the Global Declaration. As of December 2015, approximately 260 projects have been planned, underway, or completed. This represents an increase of more than 165 percent in the number of projects since the Global Declaration was announced. The projects vary widely, from beach clean ups to expanding waste management capacities, and from global research to awareness and education campaigns.
Sixty-five associations representing 34 countries have signed the Declaration as of May 2016. The Global Declaration and list of signatories can be found at www.marinelittersolutions.com.