Pritzker Brief No. 5 | October 2013
An estimated 20 million tons of plastic litter enters the ocean each year. This litter has a wide range of adverse environmental and economic impacts, from wildlife deaths and degraded coral reefs to billions of dollars in cleanup costs, damage to sea vessels, and lost tourism and fisheries revenues. Despite increased attention to the problem and general agreement about the need for reduction and cleanup of marine plastic litter, there is presently no overarching action plan that would effectively address the problem.
This paper, fifth in the Emmett Center's Pritzker Brief series, reviews the universe of studies, policies and international agreements relevant to the problem and provides a suite of recommendations to achieve meaningful reductions in plastic marine litter by the year 2025.