A snapshot of global actions to reduce the flow of microplastic to the ocean from the UNEP stock-taking exercise 2020

, Pahl Sabine, Goodhew Julie, Bacosa Hernando, Creencia Lota, Thompson Richard.

The ad hoc open-ended expert group (AHEG) on marine litter and microplastics was established through United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA). One of its mandates is to take stock of currently existing actions to reduce marine litter and microplastics. A dedicated online survey tool was designed to conduct the stock-taking, and invitations were sent to all UN Member States, major groups and other stakeholders by the AHEG Chair. Here we report on the results of the stock-taking specifically for microplastic actions. Of the 220 usable submissions on actions we received, the majority were on macroplastics, with microplastics a smaller category, followed by additives. Analysis is still ongoing of the data received in August 2020, but we will report on the nature (e.g., technical, capacity-building, monitoring) and geographic spread of microplastic actions, and where in the lifecycle phase and environmental zone they are targeted. We will summarise the barriers and facilitators reported and review funding and partnerships supporting these actions as well as evaluation and reporting practices. Finally, we will discuss these insights in the context of actions mentioning biodegradable materials and discuss limitations and practical issues of the UNEP stock-taking exercise.

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