A Review of Technological Solutions to Prevent or Reduce Marine Plastic Litter in Developing Countries
Growing global plastic production combined with poor waste collection has led to increasing amounts of plastic debris being found in oceans, rivers and on shores. The goal of this study is to provide an overview on currently available technological solutions to tackle marine plastic litter and to assess their potential use in developing countries. To compile an inventory of technological solutions, a dedicated online platform was developed. A total of 51 out of initially 75 submitted solutions along the plastics value chain were assessed by independent experts. Collection systems represent more than half of the shortlisted solutions. A quarter include processing and treatment technologies, either as a stand-alone solution (30%) or, more commonly, in combination with a first litter capturing step. Ten percent offer digital solutions. The rest focuses on integrated waste management solutions. For each stage in the source-to-sea spectrum—land, rivers, sea—two illustrative examples are described in detail. This study concludes that the most cost-effective type of solution tackles land-based sources of marine litter and combines technology with people-oriented practices, runs on own energy sources, connects throughout the plastics value chain with a convincing valorization plan for captured debris, and involves all relevant stakeholders.
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