Marine plastic pollution has been a growing concern for decades. Single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads) are a significant source of this pollution. Although research outlining environmental, social, and economic impacts of marine plastic pollution is growing, few studies have examined policy and legislative tools to reduce plastic pollution, particularly single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads). This paper reviews current international market-based strategies and policies to reduce plastic bags and microbeads. While policies to reduce microbeads began in 2014, interventions for plastic bags began much earlier in 1991. However, few studies have documented or measured the effectiveness of these reduction strategies. Recommendations to further reduce single-use plastic marine pollution include: (i) research to evaluate effectiveness of bans and levies to ensure policies are having positive impacts on marine environments; and (ii) education and outreach to reduce consumption of plastic bags and microbeads at source.
Single-use plastics, Microbeads, Plastic bags, Policies, Plastic marine pollution
Xanthos, D., Walker, T.R., 2017. International policies to reduce plastic marine pollution from single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads): A review. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 118(1-2): 17-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.02.048.
Single-use plastics, or SUPs (plastic bags, microbeads, cutlery, straws and polystyrene) are substantial sources of plastic marine pollution, yet preventable via legislative and non-legislative interventions. Various international legislative strategies have been reported to address plastic marine pollution from plastic bags and microbeads, but these have since been accompanied by recent increasing public awareness triggered by international agencies and organizations. The Sixth International Marine Debris Conference highlighted increasing intervention strategies to mitigate SUP pollution. This study presents new multi-jurisdictional legislative interventions to reduce SUPs since 2017 and incorporates emergence of new non-legislative interventions to mitigate other types of SUPs at individual and private-sector levels that complement or influence legislative interventions. Further, effectiveness of SUP bag interventions (e.g., bans vs. levies) to help reduce SUP marine pollution are presented and range between 33 and 96% reduction in bag use.
Plastic marine pollution, Single-use plastics (SUPs), Polystyrene, Plastic straws, Plastic cutlery, Legislative and non-legislative interventions
Schnurr, R.E.J., Alboiu, V., Chaudhary, M., Corbett, R.A., Quanz, M.E., Sankar, K., Srain, H.S., Thavarajah, V., Xanthos, D., Walker, T.R., 2018. Reducing marine pollution from single-use plastics (SUPs): A review. Marine Pollution Bulletin 137: 157-171. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.10.001.