Plastics groups to cooperate on marine debris issue

By Mike Verespej, Plastics NewsPosted 23 March 2011 11:47 am GMTWithout detailing any specific new initiatives, 47 global plastics associations, including PlasticsEurope, pledged 22 March to work in partnership with others to develop solutions to marine debris globally.The associations, which represent groups in 26 countries, did not outline any new actions they planned to take to address what they said were the largest contributors to marine debris — “poor or insufficient inadequate waste management infrastructure, lack of sufficient recycling/recovery, and bad practices such as land and marine litter”.Rather, the 47 associations said that they wanted to work with governments, non-government organisations, researchers, and other stakeholders to prevent marine litter.“These are large and complex issues with societal and economic challenges and more than any single entity, industry, or government can solve,” said the declaration.The statement was issued 22 March at the International Marine Debris Conference in Honolulu.“What’s significant is the number of entities, the extent of the geographic reach and the number of countries represented,” said Steve Russell, vice president of the plastics division of the AmericanThe joint declaration listed six different areas where the associations aim to focus their activities:• Public-private partnerships aimed at preventing marine debris.• Enforcement of existing laws to prevent marine litter, and the promotion of scientific-based policies to prevent marine litter.• Programs that “enhance opportunities” to recover plastic products for recycling and energy recovery.• Partnerships with the scientific community and researchers to better understand “the scope, origins and impacts of solutions to marine litter.”• Educational efforts regarding eco-efficient waste management systems and practices• Stewardship programs to prevent plastic pellets from spilling during transportation and distribution.