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Global plastic industry activities to prevent and combat marine litter up more than 165-percent

WASHINGTON (May 20, 2016) –  Leaders from plastics organizations across the globe announced that there were approximately 260 projects planned, underway or completed as part of the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter (Global Declaration), a public commitment by the global plastics industry to tackle plastic in the marine environment. The announcement came with the release of the plastics industry’s annual progress report, which documents the various efforts underway around the world.

“As a united, global industry, we’ve come a long way from where we started in 2011,” said Callum Chen from the Asia Plastics Forum. “Today we have active marine litter prevention programs occurring in all regions of the globe and we are continually pursuing opportunities to grow our work.”

The Global Declaration was launched in March 2011 at the 5th International Marine Debris Conference  by 47 plastics associations from regions across the globe. Recognizing their important role in fighting marine litter, these plastics associations have launched and are supporting projects in six key areas aimed at contributing to sustainable solutions. The six focus areas of the Global Declaration are education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment.

[Read highlight of the report in the 2016 Progress Report Executive Summary]

“We’re very pleased with the continued growth in the work we’re doing on marine litter,” said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. “Since our last report, we’ve increased the number of industry associations participating as part of the Global Declaration and demonstrated that, united, we can help make a difference.”

“Marine litter is a complex environmental challenge that requires joint efforts at the local, regional and global level”, said Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope. “We look forward to continue developing and executing programs that address marine litter, and work with governments, non-governmental organizations, researchers, and other stakeholders. It is critical that we have these partnerships and continue to bring additional stakeholders to the table to tackle this very serious issue.”

“Whilst the majority of consumers act responsibly, a minority who do not use or dispose of their plastic products appropriately, causing negative impacts such as litter,” said Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary-General, Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA). “That’s why raising awareness about proper waste management and recycling is so important to us.”

Since initiating the Global Declaration, signatories have identified numerous specific actions designed to fulfill these commitments across six focus areas and have agreed to track and report progress. In 2013 the Global Declaration also became part of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global Partnership on Marine Litter.

Today, 65 associations in 34 countries have signed on to the Global Declaration, and the 260 projects underway, planned or completed (as of December 2015), represent a nearly 165 percent increase in the number of projects since the Global Declaration’s announcement.

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