This report highlights the potential for a measures-based approach to be more effective at tackling marine plastic litter than setting targets.
Marine plastics are an emerging issue facing policy makers. However, the information we currently have on the impacts of marine plastics is limited. This makes it challenging to identify what a ‘socially optimal’ level of marine plastic pollution would be. The lack of information seems to be encouraging a wide spectrum of policy responses, which range from a complete ban on many kinds of plastic at one extreme, to “do nothing until we’ve improved our data” at the other.
This document reflects upon the data challenge and explains why detailed monitoring of marine litter is difficult, expensive and ultimately, perhaps, unnecessary. It argues that setting reduction targets for marine plastics is unlikely to be effective policy. Instead, it proposes a “Best Available Technique” approach to the selection of measures, similar to the way in which industrial emissions are addressed.
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