National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action

The attention on plastic pollution has intensified in recent years among national governments and the global community. The ‘National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action’ (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Guidance’) aims to provide a structure for the methods of identifying plastic leakage ‘hotspots’, finding their impacts along the entire plastic value chain, and then prioritising actions once these hotspots are identified. The Guidance sprung from our desire to address the challenge to define an effective strategy to address plastic pollution, in a systemic way. It is aimed at enabling countries, regions, or cities to take and use this structure, or framework, in their own environments.

Currently, a number of organisations and initiatives are looking to develop methodologies and approaches to assess the flow and leakage of plastics. They seek to address the complexity of the plastics value chain; the unquantified magnitudes of impacts on the environment, including marine ecosystems. There is a clear need for a better understanding of the origins of major plastic leakages as well as for more accurate knowledge on which actions will make the biggest impact. The Guidance attempts to address that need.

Countries, regions and cities will benefit from this more harmonised quantification of plastic leakage and impact, allowing them to establish a baseline for benchmarking and tracking the progress of interventions. As demonstrated in the Guidance, the assessment and tracking will need to be comprehensive, consistent, comparable and credible, based on a methodology which harmonises existing data, tools and resources. The Guidance takes a holistic approach, covering major types of plastic polymers and products, as well as their leakage and impacts along the full value chain. The Guidance is action oriented and supports the users with a reproducible workflow, with a set of tools and templates for data collection, analysis, diagnosis, planning and implementation.

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