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Local waste management successfully reduces coastal plastic pollution

Willis, K, Hardesty, BD, Vince, J ORCID: 0000-0002-4469-7634 and Wilcox, C 2022 , 'Local waste management successfully reduces coastal plastic pollution' , One Earth, vol. 5, no. 6 , pp. 1-27 , doi: 10.1016/j.oneear.2022.05.008.

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Abstract

Regardless of where plastic pollution originates, the management interventions made at the local level are crucial to the global success of reducing plastic pollution. Reduced plastic consumption and pollution have been observed in communities with plastic taxes and educational programs. However, there is currently a lack of a quantitative framework that connects local actions to measurable reductions of plastic loads in the nearby coastal environment. Here, we explore whether changes in municipal waste management efforts corresponded to decreases in coastal plastic pollution across the continent of Australia. Our research shows that local strategies can result in large-scale benefits. We observed an average reduction in coastal litter of 29% over 6 years at the continental scale. Strategies that encouraged stewardship of coastal areas and economically motivated appropriate waste disposal were correlated with reductions in plastic pollution. This work can guide the efforts of policymakers and citizens alike to reduce plastic pollution at local, national, and global scales.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Willis, K and Hardesty, BD and Vince, J and Wilcox, C
Keywords: Australia, behavior change theory, coastal litter, policy, local waste management, plastic pollution, governance, local government, reduction
Journal or Publication Title: One Earth
Publisher: Cell Press
ISSN: 2590-3330
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.oneear.2022.05.008
Copyright Information:

Crown Copyright 2022 Published by Elsevier Inc

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