Volume 72

Solid Waste and Marine Litter Management Trends in the Wider Caribbean Region.

Corbin, C.
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Date: November, 2019

Pages: 6-May

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Two Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


The 2019 State of Convention Area (SOCAR) Report for the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR) on marine pollution published by the Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention estimated that in 2015, the resident population generated 79 million tons of solid waste. As a result of inadequate solid waste management practices, as much as 1.3 million tons of plastics were introduced to the Caribbean Sea. The WCR is among the world's regions with the highest floating microplastic and macroplastic concentrations. Microplastic adsorbs organic pollutants from the surrounding seawater and when ingested, can deliver harmful chemicals to marine fauna and humans. In Grenada, for example, in a recent study, microplastic particles were found in 41 of the 42 digestive tracts of seven species of commercially exploited marine fish analysed. While bans of single-use plastic bags and polystyrene foam products have swept across the region in the last year, solid waste management continues to be a major challenge. While addressing plastic pollution using a circular economy approach is gaining momentum, the by-products of plastic recycling can be just as, or even more harmful than the uncycled plastic itself. There is a growing recognition of the need to reduce the production of new plastic and to seek appropriate alternatives. The Protocol on Land-Based Sources of Marine Pollution, ratified by 15 Countries in the WCR, forms a valuable regional framework for continued efforts to control pollution from Marine Litter and Plastics, and to assist Governments in meeting Sustainable Development Goal 14.2 on reducing marine pollution.

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