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Drowning in Plastics

Global plastic production has risen exponentially in the last decades. It now amounts to some 400 million tonnes per year. Yet only an estimated 12% of the plastics produced have been incinerated and only an estimated 9% have been recycled. The remainder has either been disposed of in landfills or released into the environment, including the oceans. Without meaningful action, flows of plastic waste into aquatic ecosystems are expected to nearly triple from around 11 million tonnes in 2016 to around 29 million tonnes in 2040.

Drowning in Plastics – Marine Litter and Plastic Waste Vital Graphics provides a complete overview of the global challenges related to marine litter and plastic waste, using graphic illustrations accompanied by condensed descriptions of key thematic areas . It describes challenges and possible solutions across the waste hierarchy. Drowning in Plastics also provides an overview of challenges and solutions related to bioplastics, and waste management in developing countries, as well as challenges and opportunities regarding gender aspects of waste management. Moreover, the reader will find an overview of governance and policy solutions covering the Basel Convention, national policies, global responses through the United Nations Environment Assembly, other global and regional initiatives, monitoring and assessment components, and broader systemic perspectives. This publication was developed as a collaborative effort between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and GRID-Arendal.

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United Nations Environment Programme

October 21, 2021
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