Legal and Policy Frameworks for Preventing and Reducing Marine Plastic Pollution

Publication Name

Plastics and the Ocean: Origin, Characterization, Fate, and Impacts


Policy plays an important role in stimulating action across multiple sectors and can target actors and stakeholders across the plastics value chain. Marine litter has played a crucial role in raising global awareness of the issue of plastic pollution. The cost of marine litter, and plastic pollution more generally, is increasingly recognized as an externality to those businesses that produce and use plastic products. There is no single binding agreement at the international level that governs marine litter or the full life cycle of plastics. Instead, there is a mix of binding and voluntary instruments at the international and regional level that have, to varying degrees, application to the issue of marine litter. This may be explicit or inferred through broader measures, such as those targeting solid waste management. A number of regional fora have adopted instruments applicable to the issue of marine plastic litter and also specific to the broader issue of marine litter.

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