Plastic Free July: The opportunities to tackle marine plastic pollution

By 2050 there could be a larger tonnage of plastic than of fish in the ocean. With only around 14% of plastic being recycled worldwide, a staggering US$80bn-120bn is lost to the global economy per year. Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution. To mark this occasion, the World Ocean Initiative is highlighting some of our recent coverage on tackling marine plastic pollution.
The WOI’s recent report on a sustainable ocean economy in 2030 discusses major business challenges and opportunities for tackling the marine plastic crisis, from supply-chain innovations and imaginative startups to entirely new systems of waste management.
About 80% of ocean plastic comes from around 1,000 rivers. A recent film in The Economist Films’ and WOI’s The Protectors Ocean series focuses on how to tackle plastic pollution from rivers flowing into the ocean. Since 2015 The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch non-profit organisation, has been researching the feasibility of river-based plastic collection alongside its ocean system.
Beyond clean-up technologies, systemic change is required—from product design for a circular economy and shifts away from single-use to reuse, to improving recycling infrastructure. A recent WOI webinar highlighted the bold solutions needed to end marine plastic pollution. Plastics will also feature prominently at the World Ocean Summit in Lisbon next year as one of the summit’s six key industry tracks. The need to tackle marine plastic pollution will also be discussed at our upcoming Blue Recovery webinar series.

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