The marine plastic pollution crisis

Peter Manyara is the South Africa-based regional project co-ordinator for the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities (Marplasticcs) programme for southern and east Africa

Plastic Pollution: The Facts

  • Globally, over 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year.
  • Between 8—10 million tons of this plastic flows into our oceans every year.
  • Plastic kills an estimated one million seabirds and 100 000 marine mammals each year.
  • Plastic pollution costs a minimum of $13-billion annually in damage to marine ecosystems.
  • Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities Project (Marplasticcs)

    In 2017 the IUCN launched the Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities initiative (Marplasticcs) with the support of the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency. This is a three-year initiative working with five countries: South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Thailand and Vietnam.

    Marplasticcs assists the governments, municipalities, industry, research institutions and organisations in these countries to strengthen and effect legislative and practical measures to reduce plastic pollution from source to sea.

    Working with the private sector

    Plastic packaging is currently largely single use in business-to-consumer applications. It is essential that extended producer responsibility schemes should be designed and implemented to stimulate design change within the consumer goods industry.

    Marplasticcs’ engagement with the private sector includes supporting platforms for leadership and corporate stewardship to address the plastic problem and come up with innovative solutions and actions, as well a better understanding and assessment of the plastic footprint.


    For more information https://www.iucn.org/theme/marine-and-polar/our-work/close-plastic-tap-programme

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