Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New global policy effort to tackle crisis of plastic litter in oceans urged

Date:
October 29, 2013
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
A new report explores the sources and impacts of plastic marine litter, and offers domestic and international policy recommendations to tackle these growing problems -- a targeted, multifaceted approach aimed at protecting ocean wildlife, coastal waters and economies, and human health.

Plastic litter and other trash on the coastline of Green Island, Kure Atoll, Hawaii (2006).
Credit: Claire Fackler, CINMS, NOAA/NOAA Photo Library

Plastic litter is one of the most significant problems facing the world's marine environments. Yet in the absence of a coordinated global strategy, an estimated 20 million tons of plastic litter enter the ocean each year.

A new report by authors from UCLA School of Law's Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment and UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability explores the sources and impacts of plastic marine litter and offers domestic and international policy recommendations to tackle these growing problems -- a targeted, multifaceted approach aimed at protecting ocean wildlife, coastal waters, coastal economies and human health.

"Stemming the Tide of Plastic Marine Litter: A Global Action Agenda," the Emmett Center's most recent Pritzker Environmental Law and Policy Brief, documents the devastating effects of plastic marine litter, detailing how plastic forms a large portion of our waste stream and typically does not biodegrade in marine environments. Plastic marine litter has a wide range of adverse environmental and economic impacts, from wildlife deaths and degraded coral reefs to billions of dollars in cleanup costs, damage to sea vessels, and lost tourism and fisheries revenues. The brief describes the inadequacy of existing international legal mechanisms to resolve this litter crisis, calling on the global community to develop a new international treaty while also urging immediate action to implement regional and local solutions.

"Plastic marine litter is a growing global environmental threat imposing major economic costs on industry and government," said report co-author Mark Gold, an associate director of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Marine plastic pollution slowly degrades and has spread to every corner of the world's oceans, from remote islands to the ocean floor. Voluntary half-measures are not preventing devastating global impacts to marine life, the economy and public health. Although there is no one panacea, we have identified the top 10 plastic pollution-prevention actions that can be implemented now to begin drastically reducing plastic marine litter."

In "Stemming the Tide of Plastic Marine Litter," the authors review the universe of studies, policies and international agreements relevant to the problem and provide a suite of recommendations to achieve meaningful reductions in plastic marine litter. The report's "Top 10" list of recommended actions includes a new international treaty with strong monitoring and enforcement mechanisms; domestic and local regulatory actions, such as bans of the most common and damaging types of plastic litter; extended producer-responsibility programs; and the creation of an "ocean friendly" certification program for plastic products.

"Because global mismanagement of plastic is fueling the growing marine litter problem, policy responses are needed at all levels, from the international community of nations down to national and local communities," said report co-author Cara Horowitz, executive director of the Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment. "We can act now to rapidly scale up effective policies and programs to address plastic marine litter. And hopefully, international collaboration to reduce plastic litter will lay a foundation for broader cooperation on other significant issues affecting the health of our oceans."

Plastic marine litter has its origins in both land- and ocean-based sources, from untreated sewage and industrial and manufacturing sites to ships and oil and gas platforms. Pushed by the natural motion of wind and ocean currents -- often over long distances -- the litter is present in oceans worldwide, as well as in sea floor sediment and coastal sands. As the particles break down and disperse, they have a wide range of adverse environmental, public health and economic consequences with the potential to kill wildlife, destroy natural resources and disrupt the food chain.

Report: http://cdn.law.ucla.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Centers%20and%20Programs/Emmett%20Center%20on%20Climate%20Change%20and%20the%20Environment/Pritzker%20Paper%205.pdf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. The original article was written by Lauri Gavel. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "New global policy effort to tackle crisis of plastic litter in oceans urged." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029143006.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2013, October 29). New global policy effort to tackle crisis of plastic litter in oceans urged. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029143006.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "New global policy effort to tackle crisis of plastic litter in oceans urged." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029143006.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins