World Plastics Council undertakes marine litter combat / Increasing awareness for waste prevention concepts in Asia / G20 Action Plan announced in Hamburg
On 17 May, World Plastics Council (WPC; members met in Guangzhou / China to renew commitments to reducing marine litter and fostering cooperation at the international level. The executive committee highlighted its support of global initiatives, such as the Trash Free Seas Alliance (Washington, D.C. / USA; and Plasticity (Hong Kong / China; as well as engagement with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (Cowes / UK;

At the recent board meeting in China, Karl-H. Foerster, executive director of PlasticsEurope (Brussels / Belgium;, underlined, "It was encouraging to see the increasing interest of plastics producers from all over the world in waste management concepts to prevent marine litter. On invitation by Li Shousheng, chairman of China Petroleum & Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF), several of the largest Chinese companies attended the meeting, with a view to join the WPC."

"Our objective is to engage more and more producers, in particular from parts of the world not currently represented, to join our global activities," Foerster added, and he hopes the rise of new members from the non-Western world can be made a topic at the WPC's next general assembly in November this year in Dubai / UAE. The general assembly will be hosted by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA, Dubai;, and take place during the GPCA's annual forum.

At the "K 2016" trade fair in Düsseldorf / Germany, top managers of several of the world’s leading plastics producers met to point the way for the fight against marine litter on a global level and stressed how important it is to bring plastics producers and associations from all parts of the world especially from Asia on board (see of 25.10.2016).

Over the past few years, the WPC has increased its presence at global conferences and intergovernmental forums, including the "World Ocean Summit" and the "UN Ocean Conference" as well as advising the G7 and G20 summits and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development. The WPC aims to promote actions to stop plastics from ending up in the oceans, while raising awareness to combat marine litter. The council is a forum for industry leaders to accelerate cooperation and alignment and to deliver improved outcomes for the benefit of society and the global plastics industry. It is committed to contributing to solutions for the worldwide marine litter challenge. As an example, the WPC is supporting the implementation of initiatives like the global Marine Litter Solutions Coalition. Founded in 2011, this coalition represents 70 plastics industry associations in 35 countries and supports more than 260 projects on the research, prevention or reduction of marine litter. It is also contributing to the Global Partnership on Marine Litter of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
G20 recognises urgent need for action to prevent and reduce marine litter
Meanwhile, the WPC applauded the "G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter" published by the G20 at its latest summit held in Hamburg / Germany, and commended the states for "their commitment to substantially reduce marine litter and its impacts by 2025."

The G20 published its Action Plan on Marine Litter on 8 July during the summit in Hamburg (Photo: German Federal Government)

The "Annex to G20 Leaders Declaration" on the Action Plan points out that the G20 sees the urgent need for action "to prevent and reduce marine litter in order to preserve human health and marine and coastal ecosystems, and mitigate marine litter’s economic costs and impacts." The G20 leaders stress the direct relationships between marine litter, environment, human health, economic development, social well-being, biodiversity and food security.

In the G20 Action Plan, the leading politicians in Hamburg published "areas of prior concern and potential policy measures," such as to "significantly reduce the use of micro-beads and single-use plastic bags and where appropriate phase them out." It went on to state, "We [the G20] thus reiterate our commitment to preventing and substantially reducing marine litter and its impacts by 2025 in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals and targets related to marine pollution, waste management, waste water treatment and sustainable consumption and production by putting into practice the following ‘G20 Operational Framework’ and the voluntary Global Network of the Committed (GNC)."

Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh, WPC chairman and executive vice president for the Petrochemicals at Sabic, said in a statement, "This urgent issue requires all of us working together and we look forward to further collaboration with G20 member states to solve this global challenge."
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Published on 14.07.2017
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