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PROTECTING THE OCEANS

The report, produced by the Global Plastics Alliance (GPA), reveals that projects under the “Global Declaration” for solutions on marine litter, have more than tripled to 355 since 2011. Initiatives undertaken by 74 associations in 40 countries include beach clean-ups, waste management programs, research, and public awareness and educational campaigns. The six focus areas of the Global Declaration are education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment.

In the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) proactively supports initiatives to address the problem of marine debris. To mark Earth Dayon April 22, Dr. Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, the GPCA secretary general, said GPCA welcomed the 4th Progress Report which highlighted the commitment of the global plastics industry to provide solutions “In order to truly resolve the challenge of plastic waste” he said, “we need to enact a behavioral change throughout society that complies with the 4 R’s: reduce usage of single use plastics; reuse whenever possible; recycle plastic waste into new products and recover the energy from plastics.”

In 2017, GPCA commissioned a survey to measure public awareness about plastics in the GCC. Asked about the best methods to effectively reduce littering, respondents chose recycling but most could not say which plastics could be recycled locally. Asked who should lead efforts to protect the environment from increased littering, nearly 50% of respondents chose government authorities while 36 percent said plastics manufacturers should be leading the effort. Respondents said they expected GCC authorities to promote more recycling in the region as well as to run more educational and awareness campaigns.

GPCA will use the results of the survey to design future marine litter prevention programs and to help increase recycling through initiatives such as its “Waste Free Environment” campaign. Now in its fifth year, the WFE campaign currently involves 29 companies and thousands of volunteers across 23 cities around the world.