China Joins Effort To Address Plastic Debris In World’s Oceans

Marine-Litter-ChinaThree associations representing China’s plastics industry have become the latest signatories to the industry’s Global Declaration for Solutions on Marine Litter, a commitment to help find and implement solutions for keeping plastics out of the ocean.

The China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF), China Synthetic Resin Marketing Association, and China Plastics Processing Industry Association (CPPIA) have officially signed on to the global declaration, under which plastic industry leaders commit to contribute to scientific research, knowledge sharing, and partnerships to develop post-use solutions that treat plastics as resources and keep them out of the marine environment.

Specifically, by signing the pledge they will:

  1. Contribute to solutions by working in public-private partnerships aimed at preventing marine debris
  2. Work with the scientific community and researchers to better understand and evaluate the scope, origins and impact of and solutions to marine litter
  3. Promote comprehensive science-based policies and enforcement of existing laws to prevent marine litter
  4. Help spread knowledge regarding eco-efficient waste management systems and practices, particularly in communities and countries that border our oceans and watersheds
  5. Enhance opportunities to recover plastic products for recycling and energy recovery
  6. Steward the transport and distribution of plastic resin pellets and products from supplier to customer to prevent product loss and encourage our customers to do the same.

Dumped Plastic Waste

The news comes after scientists estimated that the amount of plastics being dumped into the world’s oceans is around 8m tonnes every year – and this is set to double in the next ten years. 

The research published in the journal Science estimated that 4-12 million tonnes of plastic are dumped every year by coastal countries.

They found that 20 countries were responsible for 83 percent of the litter that entered the oceans, the top being China.

CPCIF Chairman Li Shousheng – “We must continue working together to find post-use solutions that take advantage of these valuable materials so they don’t become litter or create ‘white pollution’”

“Plastics are essential to achieving a sustainable society, because they reduce waste, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions, all while improving the quality of modern life,” said CPCIF Chairman Li Shousheng. “We must continue working together to find post-use solutions that take advantage of these valuable materials so they don’t become litter or create ‘white pollution’.”

“We welcome and commend China’s plastics industry for joining global efforts to address marine debris,” said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. “Marine debris is a complex, global problem, and China’s participation is a strong signal that this industry is committed to doing our part in providing solutions.”

“China is a critical force in the global economy,” said Karl H Foerster, executive director of PlasticsEurope. “We appreciate CPCIF’s leadership and look forward to working with these associations in continuing our efforts to find solutions to this growing challenge.”

“Leading plastic makers from around the globe are working together and doing our part to protect our environment, and we welcome the commitments of our friends and partners in China,” said Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general of the Gulf Petrochemical and Chemical Association.

To date more than 60 associations in 34 countries have signed the plastics industry’s global declaration, through which 185 projects have been planned, initiated or completed since its launch in March 2011.

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