MOSCOW (MRC) -- The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday released a federal strategy for addressing marine litter that includes broad efforts to incentivize recycling and build infrastructure both domestically and overseas, reported Chemweek.
“Internationally, up to 28 billion pounds of waste makes it into our oceans every year, harming marine life and coastal economies,” says EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Marine litter is a top priority for this Administration, and working together with our global partners, we aim to solve the current growing marine litter problem in our shared oceans.”
According to EPA, five countries in Asia - China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam - account for over half of the plastic waste input into the ocean. The majority of marine litter comes from land-based sources, such as littering and the mismanagement of waste, and the most effective way to combat marine litter is to prevent and reduce land-based sources of waste from entering the oceans in the first place.
The federal strategy highlights four pillars for addressing marine litter: building capacity, incentivizing the global recycling market, promoting research and development, and promoting marine litter removal. It also identifies existing US legal authorities and federal programs already under way, such as a collaboration between EPA, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement innovative programs and finance initiatives around the world to provide approaches and tools to countries that are struggling with this problem. Domestically, through EPA’s Trash Free Waters program, EPA works directly with states, municipalities, and businesses to reduce litter, prevent trash from entering waterways, and capture trash that is already in our waters. Currently, over 50 partnership projects are active across the US.
To date, NOAA’s Marine Debris Program has provided over $24 million in funding to local partners for prevention, removal, and research initiatives to address marine debris. Thus far, the program has resulted in the removal of over 22,000 metric tons of marine debris from US waters, engagement with more than 65,000 students on marine debris prevention activities, and development of 12 marine debris response guides and 11 regional action plans.
In addition, President Trump’s 2021 and 2022 budget proposals include over USD7 million in funding for EPA to address marine litter domestically and internationally. The funding would allow EPA to expand the international Trash Free Waters program to large source countries, which are located in Southeast Asia. The funding would also allow the expansion of the domestic Trash Free Waters program, allowing for even more domestic place-based projects.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) welcomed the federal strategy, saying better global coordination is critical to strengthening the response to plastic waste and creating a circular economy for plastics. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s newly introduced strategy will implement the Save Our Seas Act, bringing to bear the expertise of NOAA, EPA, USAID, DOE, and other federal agencies to help keep used plastics out of our ocean,” says Joshua Baca, vice president of ACC’s Plastics Division, in a statement. “We actively support the bipartisan Save Our Seas (SOS) Act (versions 1.0 and 2.0), as well as the RECOVER Act, the RECYCLE Act, and the PLASTICS Act, which seeks to reduce ocean plastics by encouraging innovative, market-based solutions and catalyzing private capital to enable the development of integrated waste management systems and strengthen markets for recycling materials.”
As MRC informed earlier, Braskem has formed first partnership for removing household plastic waste from landfill in Greater Sao Paulo. The partnership forged between Braskem and Tecipar, the Brazilian company specializing in environmental engineering, will avoid some 2,000 tons of plastic waste annually from being discarded in the landfill of Santana do Parnaiba, a city in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo. This volume is equivalent to 36 million units of plastic packaging made from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). The partnership reinforces Braskem's commitment to the Circular Economy and is aligned with the business strategy of the company, which is engaged in supporting the development of the recycling chain and its market.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PE production totalled 1,712,400 tonnes in the first seven months of 2020, up by 58% year on year. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) accounted for the greatest increase in the output. At the same time, overall PP production in Russia increased in January-July 2020 by 24% year on year to 1,063,700 tonne. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output.