Marine plastic pollution is a quickly growing problem and it is not yet possible to estimate how severe the impacts are. In 2017, 335 million metric tons of plastic have been produced, and this number is projected to increase almost fourfold to 1,100 metric tons by 2050. Plastic pollution of the world's oceans is thus a quickly growing environmental problem. A number of international instruments and treaties are trying to address the problem, but the growing amount of plastic waste that is polluting our seas shows these are insufficient. On behalf of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Germany, adelphi is conducting a study together with the Ecologic institute to assess gaps in global plastic governance, and propose options for the design of a new international convention with the goal to eliminate further plastic pollution of the oceans.
The study is intended as a contribution to move forward in ongoing discussions at the UN Environment Programme and the UN Environment Assembly, which mandated an Ad Hoc Open-ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics. It lays out the problems and challenges facing existing agreements and frameworks, and lays out key elements of a legally binding convention to address and eliminate marine plastic pollution.