How to end ocean plastic pollution

Plastic pollution: a global environmental crisis

Plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats our planet faces. Plastic pollutes at every stage of its life cycle, from extraction to disposal, posing a serious danger to wildlife, to our environment and to humanity.

While national and regional work is key, a global problem calls for a global solution. Since 2017, EIA have been campaigning to secure an international treaty to regulate plastics in the way that the Montreal Protocol regulates ozone-depleting chemicals.

On 2nd March 2022 at the 5th session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), this ambition became a reality with the adoption of a decision to negotiate a new legally binding instrument on plastics.

To learn more, see here, and visit our plastics treaty microsite.

Also, listen to our podcast, Not-so-fantastic plastic, in which our Senior Lawyer, Tim Grabiel, takes us on a journey from fossil fuels to waste disposal, explaining why we urgently need to change our approach to plastics.

Our microsite on Global Plastic Pollution

Our microsite on Global Plastic Pollution

Visit microsite

Awareness of the scale and nature of global plastic pollution has grown rapidly in recent years, but tackling the issue can’t be left to random uncoordinated initiatives, nor should the responsibility be dumped on the shoulders of consumers.

What’s needed now is an effective international convention to direct efforts and take meaningful steps to reverse this toxic tide.

Tim Grabiel, Senior Lawyer, EIA

How EIA is working to reduce plastic pollution

Our plastic pollution campaign is focused on obtaining strong regulatory measures at international, European and national levels to achieve a significant reduction in plastics entering the oceans. Our work includes:

  • an international campaign to reduce the production and use of plastics and prevent plastic waste entering the ocean;
  • a campaign to secure and implement Europe-wide legislation to dramatically reduce sources of single-use plastic and microplastic entering our seas from land, while tackling the major sources of plastic pollution originating from shipping and fisheries;
  • working in the UK to galvanise corporate action and persuade major retailers to adopt ambitious commitments to cut single-use plastics and packaging and undertake broad system change to promote re-use and refill.

EIA is one of the top 20 most effective environmental charities, according to the Environmental Funders Network.

Plastic: how the material of the future took over the planet

Plastics are synthetic organic polymers made from raw materials such as coal, fossil gas and oil. They are used for a wide range of purposes, including packaging, building and construction, vehicles, electronics, agriculture, healthcare, sport and leisure and energy.

Hailed as ‘the material for the 21st century’, global plastics production has grown continuously from five million tonnes a year in the 1960s to 460 million tonnes in 2019. Europe is now the world’s second-largest plastics producer after China.

A large pile of plastic waste

A large pile of plastic waste

Plastics are so named for their plasticity, or malleability, allowing them to be manufactured in a variety of shapes and forms. It is this property which has led to plastic’s adaptation to a multitude of purposes and its proliferation in single-use products.

Single-use plastic items – including plastic bags, bottle caps, cutlery and straws – now account for around half of the plastic produced each year worldwide.

EIA Checking Out on Plastics report

Plastic’s low weight and durability have helped to make it successful and have contributed to the accumulation of plastic in the marine environment. Originating from land due to littering and poor waste management, plastic is transported via wind, rivers and untreated sewage into the sea.

A toxic rising tide of plastic pollution

Plastic pollution can now be found everywhere, from the remote shores of the Arctic to the deepest parts of the ocean. Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic leak into the marine environment annually, harming biodiversity and posing a threat to food security, sustainability and human health.

Plastic production is increasing at an alarming rate. It has risen twentyfold in the past 50 years and is expected to double again in the next 20 years. As waste management efforts are overwhelmed, we are only just beginning to comprehend the scale of the crisis.

  • 460 million tonnes

    produced each year
  • 12 million tonnes

    leak into our oceans every year
  • 51 trillion plastic particles

    present in the marine environment

Plastic pollution in the Pacific Ocean

When plastic enters the marine environment, it is largely buoyant and drifts with prevailing currents and winds, accumulating in spiralling ocean currents.

The largest of these is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a 1.6 million km2, 79,000 tonne mass of plastic debris in the North Pacific. Comprised predominantly of fisheries-derived plastic, the problem will only increase as fishing efforts intensify.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Even on the most remote island in the world – Henderson Island, in the South Pacific – researchers found 17.6 tonnes of plastic and an estimated 2,000 pieces of microplastic per square metre. Other surveys have found hundreds of millions of pieces of microplastic on other Pacific islands, where they are killing off local wildlife.

Billions of pieces of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans

Microplastic particles may already outnumber zooplankton in the ocean. Shockingly, by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in our seas.

Types of marine plastic pollution

The main plastic items observed in beach clean ups worldwide can be broadly grouped into:

  • packaging-related litter – including bags, drink bottles, cups, caps, lids, straws, stirrers, disposable cutlery, food wrappers, containers and polystyrene;
  • fishing and shipping-related litter – including bait containers and strapping bands, buoys, fishing line, nets, traps, ropes and plastic sheeting;
  • sewage-related litter – including sanitary towels and tampons, wet wipes and cotton buds;
  • microplastics and nanoplastics – including industrial pellets or ‘nurdles’, fragmented plastics, synthetic clothing fibres and microbeads from personal care products.
Microbeads (c) T Cox FFI

Microbeads (c) T Cox FFI

How long does plastic last?

Plastic pollution isn’t just a crisis of scale. It’s a crisis of duration too.

Paul Newman, Press and Communications Officer, EIA

Many common types of plastic take centuries to decompose, while creating a harmful environmental legacy that can last far longer.

Cigarette butt 10 years
Plastic bag 20 years
Plastic straw 200 years
Plastic bottle 450 years
Six-pack beer holder 450 years
Fishing line 600 years

Source: The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Woods Hole Sea Grant.

The impact of plastic pollution on the environment and society

A Dolphin in the Ocean with a plastic bag stuck around its middle

The impacts of ocean plastic pollution - A Dolphin caught in plastic bag

Current plastic consumption trends pose threats to natural habitats around the globe, with serious socio-economic implications for a wide variety of sectors and stakeholders.

The impacts of marine pollution were first documented in the 1960s. As plastic usage and quantities of plastic pollution have significantly increased in subsequent decades, the severity of impacts on marine ecosystems has escalated and intensified.

A serious threat to marine life

A turtle trapped in ghost gear fishing net

A turtle trapped in ghost gear fishing net

Plastic pollution is now deemed a major threat to marine biodiversity and is known to negatively impact more than 800 animal species, including birds, marine mammals and turtles.

A dead sperm whale that washed up on a Scottish beach in December 2019 was found to have 100kg of plastic rubbish in its stomach. The litter included fishing nets, rope, bags and plastic cups.

Marine pollution is transboundary in nature, with ocean currents carrying macro and microplastics far from the place of origin. Recent research shows that plastic rubbish from the UK accumulates in the Arctic, damaging one of the most fragile and remote ecosystems on earth.

The problem of microplastics in seas and on land

Almost 100,000 microbeads are released in each application of some facial scrub products, resulting in up to 80 tonnes of unnecessary microplastic waste entering the sea every year from the UK alone.

Microplastic beach litter (c) NOAA PIFSC, CREP

Microplastics (particles less than 5mm in size) are a cause for concern because their small size means that they can be ingested by organisms throughout the marine food chain, from those at the base through to commercially important fish, shellfish and baleen whales. Basking sharks have been estimated to consume approximately 13,110 microplastic items per day and Mediterranean fin whales approximately 3,653 items.

Such ingestion can potentially lead to physical and toxicological effects.

Microplastics are also an emerging threat to terrestrial ecosystems, posing risks to organisms which perform essential ecosystem services such as soil-dwelling invertebrates, fungi and plant‐pollinators.

In addition, terrestrial wildlife is at risk from macroplastics. A 2018 report by Keep Britain Tidy documented that waste pollution in the UK kills up to 3.2 million shrews, voles and mice every year.

Plastic fuels environmental concerns

Further environmental concerns arise from the climate impacts of plastics. The raw materials used to produce virtually all plastics are derived from fossil fuels which create carbon emissions throughout their lifecycle, including during extraction, pipeline and refinery operations, production and conversion, through to end-of-life treatment, such as incineration.

Plastic is becoming the fastest driver of oil demand. It will account for a third of oil demand by 2030 and a half by 2050. So when you see plastic out in the environment, whether it’s in a park, in the ocean or on a beach, in effect that’s a solid oil spill, because plastic comes from oil.

Tim Grabiel, Senior Lawyer, EIA

Impacts of plastic on the economy and human health

The impact of the ever-increasing production of plastic, coupled with overwhelmed and insufficient waste management, is felt not just in the oceans but in every environment on Earth. It results in up to $2.5 trillion in annual environmental and economic damage, as well as other economic losses and significant human and environmental health concerns.

In particular, there are socio-economic impacts for sectors including tourism, fisheries and agriculture. Plastic pollution in soil could have negative impacts on crop yield, putting pressure on agricultural revenues.

There are also mounting concerns regarding the potential impacts on human health, with plastic documented in drinking water and the human food chain. While fish in the North Sea and Baltic Sea are likely to ingest plastic, European consumers of shellfish are at risk of ingesting microplastics. Although understanding of the fate and toxicity of microplastics in humans remains at an early stage, this is a fast-growing area of scientific research, with the World Health Organisation launching a review of the potential health risks of plastic in drinking water.

Our work to fight plastic pollution

EIA advocates for change to fight plastic pollution at global, Regional (EU), and national (UK) levels. Our work involves carrying out research, raising awareness, joining forces with other NGOs who share our vision for a just circular economy for plastics and keeping up the pressure on governments and businesses to end single-use plastic, curb production and cut plastic pollution.

Working to secure a new global agreement on plastic pollution

Preventing plastic pollution will require a dedicated global framework, a Convention on Plastic Pollution, that addresses the full lifecycle of plastics from production and design to waste prevention and management. We need a Convention that builds upon and complements existing national and regional initiatives while otherwise addressing the significant gaps that exist that currently prevent us from eliminating plastic pollution and creating a non-toxic circular economy for plastics.

Since 2017, EIA have been campaigning to secure an international treaty to regulate plastics. On 2nd March 2022 at the 5th UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), it finally became a reality when the Assembly adopted the resolution entitled End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument’. This has widely been heralded as the most important environmental agreement since Paris and has everything required to negotiate an impactful and binding treaty that regulates the full life cycle of plastics. Formal negotiations will begin in 2022 with a view to completing by the end of 2024.

We have developed what we call a ‘thought starter’ on the elements and design of a Convention to inform the policy debate, and a series of ‘Essential Elements’ papers that take a deeper dive into specific elements of the treaty, including topics such as fishing gear and finance.

Briefing the International Whaling Commission on marine debris

In 2012, EIA’s Dying for our Convenience report found that an increasing number of cetacean species (whales, porpoises and dolphins) were being affected by marine debris. A conservative estimate at that point was that more than 100,000 marine mammals were dying from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic debris such as abandoned fishing gear and netting.

“Almost daily we are confronted with gruesome pictures of whales’ stomachs blocked by plastic bags and dolphins entangled by discarded fishing gear. We’ve seen a huge rise in awareness of the horrific impacts of plastic pollution on marine animals so it’s critical that we galvanise the momentum on this issue to drive tangible action to protect our oceans. A core part of our strategy is bringing the science to the policy-makers and ensuring that the robust case for tackling plastic pollution informs the national, regional and international political agenda.”

Christina Dixon, Senior Ocean Campaigner, EIA

Adult Humpback Whale breaching

Adult Humpback Whale breaching

The report made a number of recommendations which we subsequently presented to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission at a meeting in Panama.

As a result, for the first time, the International Whaling Commission organised Marine Debris Workshops, bringing together relevant experts to gain a better understanding of how marine debris was affecting cetaceans and how best to monitor and mitigate these impacts, with EIA offering expert advice on the impacts of plastic pollution.

Through our ongoing campaign to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises, we continue to address the severe threats to cetaceans and marine ecosystems created by human activities, including plastic pollution.

Helping secure an EU agreement to reduce single-use plastic bags

The average plastic bag is used for just 12 minutes before being discarded.

In 2014, our work on plastic bags helped achieve an EU agreement to reduce the use of single-use carrier bags.

The plastic bag has become a symbol of our throwaway culture, a visual blight on our landscape – littering roadsides, choking waterways and polluting oceans. Non-degradable, rarely recycled and of no cost to consumers, plastic bags are widely disposed of after just a few minutes’ use. What’s more, the same properties that make them commercially successful – their low weight and resistance to degradation – contribute to their accumulation in the environment”.

Sarah Baulch, EIA senior ocean campaigner (2015)

We joined together with 22 other European NGOs, including Friends of the Earth Europe, the Plastic Soup Foundation and Seas at Risk, to produce a statement on the European Parliament’s draft report on plastic carrier bags.

In tandem, we led a campaign to encourage the public to tell their MEPs that killing marine life with plastic waste is unacceptable.

Our campaign highlighted that:

  • millions of marine mammals, birds, turtles and fish die every year as a result of entanglement or ingestion of man-made litter;
  • plastic bags are the third most common type of litter found on European beaches, lakes and rivers. In 2010, more than eight billion plastic bags needlessly ended up as litter in Europe;
  • used for just a few minutes, plastic bags last for centuries in the marine environment.

The EU agreement was good news for everyone committed to binning plastic bags in Europe. However, our fight carried on, as the UK Government continued to oppose concrete, binding European targets to reduce single-use plastic bags.

As a mandatory 5p charge for plastic bags came into effect in England in 2015, we released a new report, Lost at Sea: The urgent need to tackle marine litter. It called on governments, industry, retailers and consumers alike to help end the appalling damage that plastic waste inflicts on marine environments.

Achieving a world-leading ban on microbeads in the UK

As an environmental charity campaigning against plastic pollution in our oceans, we have consistently lobbied for a ban on microbeads.

Microplastics are tiny plastic particles less than 5mm in size. They are widely used in ‘down the drain’ products such as facial scrubs, toothpaste, sunscreen and washing powder.

There are currently up to 51 trillion microplastic particles floating at the ocean surface. Eliminating microplastics at source is the only solution.

They’re so small that they cannot be captured by filters, so they end up in the oceans where they become magnets for toxic chemicals and can harm marine life.

In 2016, the UK Government announced it would lobby the EU for a Europe-wide ban on microbeads. However, we thought this proposal didn’t go far enough, as it didn’t cover all solid microplastics in consumer products.

In 2017, together with Flora and Fauna International, Greenpeace and the Marine Conservation Society, we formed a Microbeads Coalition which lobbied the UK Government to extend its proposed ban on microbeads to cover washing powders and floor cleaners as well as products such as face scrubs and toothpaste.

Following pressure from the Microbeads Coalition, we were delighted when the UK Government’s ban on plastic microbeads officially came into force in January 2018. This world-leading ban on microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products will prevent countless billions of microplastic particles from entering our seas every day.

Successfully lobbying the EU to cut single-use plastics

After months of negotiations, in December 2018 the European Union finally agreed new legislation to slash single-use plastics.

This move took place following intensive lobbying by the Rethink Plastic and Break Free From Plastic alliances, of which we are a member.

The final measures adopted include:

  • bans on several single-use plastic items including plates, cutlery, polystyrene food containers and beverage cups;
  • ensuring manufacturers pay for waste management and clean-up of several single-use plastic items, including cigarette butts and fishing gear;
  • the requirement for EU Member States to set national collection targets for fishing gear.

This is an excellent step forward towards a world with cleaner oceans. Despite industry interests working behind the scenes to water down the legislation, the EU has nevertheless still made an advance in the fight against plastic pollution which should inspire other countries to follow suit.

Exposing the massive plastic footprint of UK supermarkets

In November 2018, we revealed the full extent of UK supermarket giants’ contribution to the plastic waste problem in our landmark report Checking Out on Plastics.

We repeated the same report in 2019 and 2020 to keep track of supermarkets progress and hold them accountable to their commitments. Following our initial survey, retail giants started to pick up the pace on actions to limit plastic pollution.

However, comparing plastic footprints between our first and third reports shows that in fact, the 10 major UK supermarkets have increased their plastic packaging by 1.2% between 2017 and 2019 – amounting to a total 896,853 tonnes on the market in 2019 alone.

“It is abundantly clear that we cannot simply recycle our way out of the plastic pollution crisis and yet this remains the priority area of focus for many major chains. Retailers must pioneer new ways to reduce their plastic footprint across the entire supply chain”.

Christina Dixon, EIA Deputy Campaign Leader (2021)

Our recommendations are not just with regards to packaging, but also for a phased reduction of ‘bags for life’ as a continuous rise in sales suggested some consumers are simply switching from using single-use plastic bags to using the thicker plastic bags for life in a way that is single-use, which contain far more plastic by weight.

Together with Greenpeace, we are continuing to keep up the pressure on UK supermarkets and demand that they take action to reduce their consumption of plastic packaging. This includes taking further steps forward with regards to targets, objectives for both brand and own brand products in addition to pushing for expansion of reuse and refill systems that go beyond trial-stage.

Helping achieve EU legislation to stop marine plastic pollution

Mismanaged waste from ships accounts for approximately 32 per cent of marine plastic pollution entering EU waters each year. This includes old fishing nets that impact on biodiversity long after they are lost or discarded.

For two years, we carried out a campaign for a wide-ranging revision to the Port Reception Facilities Directive, the primary European Union legislation that governs waste management of ships and at ports.

We argued that it was vital to restructure port fees across the EU to remove incentives to illegally dump marine rubbish at sea in order to reduce costs at port.

We were delighted when EU negotiators agreed a revision to the directive in December 2018. This represents a significant milestone in the struggle against marine plastic pollution.

Tackling the global problem of ‘ghost’ fishing gear

Following our success in achieving tighter EU legislation on marine plastic pollution, we are now actively working to leverage these measures at a global level.

“Ghost gear, also known as ‘abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear’, is the deadliest form of marine debris, responsible for entangling marine wildlife and depleting fishing stocks around the world.”

Christina Dixon, EIA Senior Ocean Campaigner (2020)

 While approximately 80 per cent of marine plastic pollution originates from land – such as plastic bottles, bags and packaging – the remaining 20 per cent comes from sea-based sources, including plastic from fishing boats, shipping, offshore industries and tourism.

Of all the sea-based sources of marine plastic pollution, the most common, and also the most harmful, is lost and discarded fishing gear, also referred to as ‘ghost gear’. It accounts for approximately 10 per cent of global marine plastic pollution.

Perched on the banks of the River Thames, the International Maritime Organization, created in 1948, is the primary international body dealing with maritime safety and security, marine pollution and shipping. Yet, despite its acknowledgement of shipping’s contribution to plastic pollution, momentum to adequately address this issue has been woefully lacking.

Our report, Nothing fishy about it: Meaningful measures on fishing gear at IMO, outlines how the International Maritime Organization can address ghost gear in its new action plan which focuses on ‘Marine Plastic Litter from Ships’.

Building regional momentum for a new global agreement

Regional champions will be a critical component of securing a global convention on plastic pollution. In partnership with the Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and Massey University, EIA is working in South Pacific and African regions to foster support for a new convention and identify needs and expectations of what a global convention could deliver for their respective regions.

To serve this objective, we have developed a briefing entitled Islands of Opportunity: Toward a Global Agreement for Pacific Islands Countries and Territories which makes the case for how and why Pacific islanders are disproportionately affected by plastic pollution and how a global convention is the only credible remedy.

Striving to severely restrict the global trade in plastic waste

The aim of our campaign on the transboundary trade in plastic waste is simple – to severely restrict and phase down the international trade in scrap plastic, ensuring that it is consistently managed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

To enact this vision, we continue to advocate for tighter controls on the global trade in plastic waste at the Basel Convention. In May 2019, amendments were adopted which mean that, as of January 2021, plastic waste that is difficult-to-recycle will need to receive clear consent before being imported into receiving countries. While these amendments are an important step in the right direction, they are by no means perfect. They will still allow for Global North countries to dump difficult-to-recycle plastic waste in the Global South, where there is often not the infrastructure and capacity to appropriately manage it.

At the regional level, we are advocating for revisions to the European Union’s Waste Shipment Regulation which would ban plastic-waste exports to non-EU countries and introduce stringent measures for intra-EU trade.

How to reduce your plastic footprint

Important milestones in our fight against plastic pollution

The Environmental Investigation Agency was born out of a ground-breaking whaling investigation in 1983. What was originally a Cetaceans Campaign has in recent years expanded significantly to address broader marine issues concerning the health of the environments in which these magnificent creatures live, especially the problem of marine plastic pollution.

Here are some of the major milestones over the years in our fight to prevent plastic from entering the sea, cut the use of single-use plastic and end plastic pollution.

2001 We started drawing attention to marine plastic pollution through our work assessing global threats to whales, dolphins and porpoises.
2012 EIA’s Dying at Our Convenience report briefed the International Whaling Commission on the effects of marine debris on cetaceans.
2014 Our work on plastic bags helped secure an EU agreement to reduce the use of single-use carrier bags.
2016 We joined 90 other NGOs to form Break Free From Plastic in a global effort to create a plastic-free future.
2017 As part of a coalition, we successfully campaigned for a world-leading ban on microbeads in the UK.
2017 The United Nations Environment Assembly established Resolution 3/7: Marine litter and microplastics, stressing “the importance of long-term elimination of discharge of [plastic] litter and microplastics to the oceans”, encouraging national action and international cooperation, and establishes an Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group to examine options to combat marine plastic pollution from all sources, including international response options and legally binding strategies and approaches.
2018 The Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group met for its first and second sessions, both attended by EIA.
2018 The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee adopted the ‘IMO Action Plan to Address Marine Plastic Litter from Ships’ which builds on and complements existing measures and regulations on discharge of waste into the ocean.
2018 The European Parliament agreed new legislation to slash single-use plastics, following lobbying by the Rethink Plastic and Break Free From Plastic alliances, of which we’re a member.
2018 For the first time, our Checking Out on Plastics report revealed the amount of single-use plastic generated by Britain’s supermarkets.
2018 The EU agreed legislation that removes incentives for ships to illegally dump rubbish at sea, following our two-year campaign.
2019 The United Nations Environment Assembly established Resolution 4/6: Marine plastic litter and microplastics. This reaffirmed the importance of the long-term elimination of discharge of plastic litter and microplastics into the oceans and further stresses “the importance of more sustainable management of plastics throughout their lifecycle in order to increase sustainable consumption and production patterns, including but not limited to the circular economy”.
2019 Parties to the Basel Convention agreed to pass new amendments that restrict the transboundary movement of plastic waste.
2019 The Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group met for its third session, attended by EIA.
2019 A series of important high-level declarations were published that explicitly support a new global agreement on plastic pollution:

  • the Nordic Ministerial Declaration on the call for a global agreement to combat marine plastic litter and microplastics, April 2019;
  • the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) St Johns Declaration, July 2019;
  • the Durban Declaration on Taking Action for Environmental Sustainability and Prosperity in African states, November 2019.
2019 We published Checking Out on Plastics II: our follow up report on the use of plastics by UK supermarkets.
2020 Our report outlined how the International Maritime Organization can tackle lost and discarded fishing gear that accounts for at least 10 per cent of marine plastic pollution.
2020 The new European Union Circular Economy Action Plan was published, which states: “The [European] Commission will … lead efforts at the international level to reach a global agreement on plastics and promote the uptake of the EU’s circular economy approach on plastics.”
2020 EIA started working with Pacific Island and African countries to identify regional needs for preventing plastic pollution and protecting the Pacific and African regions. We outlined the rationale for Pacific Island countries to support a global agreement in our briefing.
2020 We inputted into the revision of the European Union’s Waste Shipment Regulation and met with high-level European Officials to promote faithful and ambitious transposition of the Basel plastic waste amendments.
2020 After a side-event at the Pacific Island Conference on Nature Conservation hosted by EIA, ‘preventing plastic pollution’ was secured as a new priority action track in the Pacific Island Framework, as well as the recommendation to advocate for a new global treaty.
2020 The Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group met for its fourth and final session, attended by EIA. The chair’s summary reflects the broad support a treaty has and outlines possible elements of treaty design.
2020 After many months of direct EIA advocacy, Lord Goldsmith, UK Minister for Pacific and the Environment announced that the UK will actively support a new treaty on plastic pollution.
2021 We published Checking Out on Plastics III and Checking Out Plastic Policy as follow up to the two previous reports looking at plastic use in the supermarket sector, further exploring the policy measures needed to catalyse system change.
2021 Ghana, Ecuador, and Germany announced they will co-host the first ever dedicated Ministerial Conference on marine litter and plastic pollution in September 2021.
2021 A statement from the UN Global Major Groups and Stakeholders at UNEA 5.2, co-drafted by EIA and BFFP partners, reiterated the need for UNEA 5.2 to ‘build forward better,’ calling for creating an intergovernmental negotiating committee with a mandate to address the full life cycle of plastics.
2021 As of UNEA 5.1 in February, over 70% of the world’s countries have expressed support for a new global treaty on plastic pollution
2022 Following five years of a dedicated campaign by EIA and our partners, a mandate to negotiate a new legally binding plastics treaty was secured at the 5th UN Environment Assembly.

Help us end plastic pollution

Three dolphins, under water

Plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats our planet faces. Our runaway addiction to single-use plastic shows no signs of slowing and it is causing untold damage to both our land and marine environments.

Please donate today to support our vital work to end plastic pollution through our campaigns for stronger regulatory measures at international, European and national levels.

Your gift will make a valuable difference in helping us to campaign against environmental abuse and protect our planet’s ecosystems. Our future depends on it.