An invaluable new resource to help tackle plastic pollution on land and in the ocean is going live today.
The Global Plastics Policy Centre (GPPC) online platform is the latest development from the University of Portsmouth’s Revolution Plastics research initiative. Free to all, it is a “one stop shop” of independent, evidence-based advice on plastic policy. The new website is a knowledge sharing platform that comes under the GPPC umbrella, which was launched by Revolution Plastics at COP26.
Plastic pollution is exacerbating the climate crisis and reducing the resilience of communities and the natural world to cope with the effects of climate change. Half of all plastic becomes waste within a year of being made and the vast majority isn’t recycled. Eleven million metric tons of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans every year. If nothing is done, it is estimated this figure will triple to nearly 29 million metric tons by 2040. Researchers at the University of Portsmouth believe action needs to be taken at the planning stage of plastic policy.
The GPPC online platform will give the latest guidance to anyone with an interest in plastics policy. The website is designed to give governments and businesses the evidence needed to make informed, evidence-based decisions around plastic policies. It is also aimed at giving citizens the knowledge to understand the actions their governments are taking. It will ultimately increase the accountability of policy makers in both government and businesses by identifying strengths and weaknesses of plastic policy action.
The launch of the GPPC online platform is well timed to support the international process to establish a global treaty to end plastic pollution. Professor Steve Fletcher, Director of the Global Plastic Policy Centre at the University of Portsmouth, said: “By the end of 2024, the text of a new agreement to end plastic pollution should have been developed. Through the Global Plastics Policy Centre we can provide independent, evidence-based analysis and advice on plastics policy. We are now in a great position to feed our research into this ambitious process.”
At the heart of the website is an analysis of more than 100 plastic policies from around the world that have been meticulously analysed for effectiveness by researchers. These include policies such as national bans; taxes and/or levies on plastic products; consumer behaviour campaigns; recycling and waste management strategies; private sector initiatives, business model adaptation, and increasing producer responsibility.
The result is a unique centralised online inventory of plastic policies that are easily searchable. Through animations, videos, click through maps and news updates, this online resource is accessible to everyone. Professor Steve Fletcher said: “The platform is the first of its kind and I believe it will generate real change. Until now, there has been no go-to source of independent evidence on the effectiveness of policies to prevent plastic pollution for policymakers or the public, nor a platform to share analyses or advice on plastic pollution policies. Given the urgency of tackling plastic pollution, the need to develop better policy to reduce plastic pollution is a priority.”
The initial analysis of 100 policies is just the start. The current analysis will be supplemented with additional evidence and advice as further studies are completed.
This research was supported by the Flotilla Foundation, a registered charity with a mission to enhance mankind’s relationship with the marine environment.
The GPPC online platform can be viewed at www.plasticspolicy.port.ac.uk