TRACK 10: Innovative Solutions Case Studies from Around the World


Land-Based Strategies to Address Marine Debris: Vietnam Case Study

Session Chair: Eric DesRoberts, Ocean Conservancy

This session will take a deep dive into a case study of waste management opportunities in rural Vietnam and will share insights from NGO, industry, and local government representatives.

 Close to 75% of trash in the ocean is dumped directly into the natural environment by households, generally due to inadequate or nonexistent local waste services. While the total volume of marine leakage is highest from urban areas, the proportion of households who dump waste is highest in rural areas, where few, if any, waste services exist.  In Vietnam, over 60% of its population lives in close proximity to waterways and nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas. Starting in early 2017, Ocean Conservancy worked with The Dow Chemical Company and many organizations in Vietnam to better understand the waste management challenges in rural areas and start to develop potential solutions to address this issue. This session will discuss the key findings of this project, highlight the need for locally appropriate solutions to addressing the entire waste stream, emphasize the benefits of a collaborative approach, and outline the potential to implement and scale solutions specific to rural areas.

Marine Debris Networks: Reasons, Impacts and Challenges

Session Chairs: Nina van Toulon, Indonesian Waste Platform; Jella Kandziora, Freelancer

The creation of marine networks is of utmost importance as they offer a framework to evaluate strategies, share information and join efforts to tackle marine debris and reach Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.

Marine debris is one of the most challenging problems of the 21st century. Due to its complexity multiple measures are needed at various scales and targeting different audiences worldwide. Stakeholders from all sectors need to collaborate. In order to tackle marine debris national and international networks based on a collective impact approach (CIA) are required. Through this framework it is possible to coordinate work, evaluate strategies, share information, build collaborations between all relevant stakeholders and above all focus their efforts towards the prevention and reduction of marine debris.

The Indonesian Waste Platform, founded in October 2015, is a hub connecting stakeholders from government, industry, academia and grass roots/community initiatives IWP hub shows exemplary how collective impact not only works in practice on national level but could also serve as a global model.

The aim of the session is to present existing marine debris networks (i.e. Indonesian Waste Platform, African Marine Waste Network etc.) and their bottom-up approaches to connect stakeholders from all sectors as well as to promote the forming of a common shared vision, strategy and action plans. At the end of the session the awareness regarding the important role of a marine debris network in the context of reaching SDG 14 shall be increased. Furthermore, possible solutions to challenges like the lack of funding shall be discussed.

Cross-sectoral Collaboration for Rapid Solutions: Providing Sustainable Waste Management in Developing-economy Cities

Session Chair: Heather Troutman, EAP Consult Ltd

Policy makers, urban planners, civil society, the private and informal sectors must come together to devise innovative solutions to stop marine debris inputs at source by facilitating comprehensive waste management services to all citizens, especially the urban poor.

 The majority of land-based marine debris inputs globally come from developing-economy cities lacking comprehensive waste management services fueled by high rates of informality, lagging infrastructure, insufficient tax-base for municipal services, rapid population growth and projections for sharp economic development. Without access to municipal services, rivers are commonly used to take the waste “away” into our global oceans.  The public, private, civil and informal sectors and the international development community must collaborate to find rapid solutions to extend waste management services in areas that are currently neglected and to those citizens unable to afford the services.  One approach is the establishment of resource recovery and reprocessing enterprises that use waste materials to produce valuable products, therefore creating an economic demand for waste materials.  In the short-term, informal communities can be empowered to collect and sort their own wastes and then sell the materials to manufacturers, creating needed jobs, saving virgin resources and preventing movement of wastes into marine environments. This strategy has also been used to engage struggling fisher-folk to help remove debris from the marine environment, augmenting their difficult incomes. Cities and companies around the world have been demonstrating best practices in cross-sectoral partnerships to mobilize the unique resources of different stakeholder groups to rapidly reach a collective aim: a clean urban environment and healthy water bodies.  This technical session will bring together change makers from different sectors and different regions to discuss how the common characteristics shared by developing-economy cities can be used as strategies for socioeconomic development and the provision of sustainable waste management services to all citizens.  Participants will learn about the different perspectives, constraints and resources available to generalized stakeholder groups, and learn strategies to initiate and sustain necessary support.  Panelist will describe the technologies, strategies and financial products and the adaptation process to make them appropriate in their context, and share key insights into their successes and failures in communities around the world.  Waste generation and management is a fundamentally human activity.  Behavioral Insight and Human Centered Design help us understand the human elements of waste management in any specific place, and help us identify strategies that will work specifically in that place at a pace as rapid as the global crises of marine debris demands.  This technical session will create a space for the sharing of best practices and the establishment of partnerships to work with our global citizens to design and implement solutions together for the elimination of land-based marine debris inputs.


A Tale of Two Cities' Marine Trash Removal Efforts: Baltimore, MD USA and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Session Chairs: Robert M Summers, KCI Technologies; Thomas Sprehe, KCI Technologies

 Action-oriented people of all disciplines seeking methods to stop the flow of trash from cities to the marine environment now, the scale of the problem, and solutions being applied and planned in two very different parts of the world.

The world's oceans are being buried in debris now. We have to stop the bleeding and remove the big pieces of debris before they break down and disperse in our waters as we seek more aggressive preventative measures, or it may be too late. The further marine debris travels into the world's coastal waters and the sea, it becomes more a more difficult and expensive to remove and has more time and opportunity to wreak havoc on the ecosystem and human health. Baltimore,

Maryland and Rio de Janeiro are two very different cities that are taking aggressive action to control marine debris with mixed success. This session will explore the scope of the problem and the solutions that have been and are being tried now to reduce debris entering Chesapeake Bay and Gianabara Bay and ultimately the sea. Efforts in Baltimore are being driven by a unique private sector and public sector partnership. Rio de Janeiro is taking a government focused approach but action is also being driven by a non-profit sector effort that uses the marine environment as a teaching tool to educate and engage students from poor families living in the watershed.


From Your Block to the Bay: Innovative Solutions to Trash Pollution in Baltimore

Session Chairs: Julie Lawson, Trash Free Maryland; Thomas Sprehe, KCI Technologies

 The panel will examine a coordinated system of innovative approaches to behavior change, community engagement, and trash removal that can be applied in cities around the world.

 As a post-industrial city with a declining population, Baltimore, Maryland, faces numerous challenges. Development of trash removal regulations (TMDL) for the Inner Harbor in 2014 spurred additional investment in preventing and cleaning up trash pollution in the water, but the blight of litter is also a major community concern, diminishing quality of life and contributing to infrastructure issues.

Through extensive partnership and innovation, the city now has a nearly complete system of interventions to address litter and marine debris through behavior change, community engagement, and technology. The approaches the speakers will present can bring new ideas to cities around the world, incorporating themes of environmental justice, public-private-NGO partnership, and regulation/policy.

Julie Lawson of Trash Free Maryland will examine aspects of the Trash Free Baltimore coordinated campaign to change littering behavior. Through formative research, the project team identified recovery as a key motif to any public-facing campaign, and began a partnership with substance abuse treatment centers and health clinics around the city to develop a clinical protocol connecting litter pickup with rehabilitation from heroin/opioid addiction.

Leanna Wetmore of the Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor Initiative will share insights about working with residents in highly distressed neighborhoods to rehabilitate alleys and reconnect neighbors to each other through trash cleanup and public art.

Baltimore’s famed Mr. Trash Wheel, and newly installed Professor Trash Wheel, have made a splash on social media and generated significant attention both locally and globally, educating people about trash pollution while removing more than a million pounds of debris from Baltimore’s rivers. Tom Sprehe of KCI, John Kellett of Clearwater Mills, or Adam Lindquist of the Waterfront Partnership will outline how the water wheels came about, their effectiveness in educating the public, and the potential they have in waterways around the world.

The session will conclude with a panel discussion about how the approaches support each other, the public-private-NGO partnerships that made them successful, and what lies ahead.

California Dreaming - Lessons Learned from Nearly Two Decades of On-land Trash Control Programs and Monitoring Efforts

Session Chair: Chris Sommers, EOA, Inc

This session will provide guidance to individuals and the international community from municipalities, regulatory agencies, non-governmental organizations, and researchers in California (USA) based on their 15+ year journey to implement management actions focused on significantly reducing on-land sources of trash/litter and monitoring improvements in trash-impacted waterways.

Since the late 1990's, the State of California has recognized that trash/litter is significantly impacting recreational uses and wildlife habitat in streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries and the Pacific Ocean. Numerous waterways throughout the State are now considered water quality "impaired" via the Federal Clean Water Act due to the amount of trash present in them. These impairment determinations have spawned numerous regulatory and management actions throughout the State that are designed to significantly reduce the amount of trash items reaching waterways. These include regulatory mandates on cities, counties and other public agencies and industries to reduce the impacts that trash originating from on-land sources is having on fisheries, wildlife and recreational uses. Municipalities in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay regions have been the leaders in developing and implementing new technologies and controls to prevent the on-land generation of trash, intercept it before it reaches waterways, and cleanup trash once it reaches these important natural resources. To-date, hundreds-of-millions of dollars have been spent by California municipalities on reducing the impacts of trash on waterways, and millions more will be spent over the next decade to combat this pervasive pollutant. Additional efforts to further the development of trash monitoring and assessment methods are also currently underway in attempts to measure the effectiveness of management actions and the progress being made towards achieving trash reduction goals.

This session will assemble key players throughout California that that are pioneers in developing trash reduction regulations, adopting source control actions such as plastic bag and expanded polystyrene bans, developing innovative technologies to intercept trash, implementing novel litter reduction strategies, and measuring progress over time.  The session will include presentations from water quality regulators, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, and researchers in California on their experiences and lessons learned over the last 15-plus years. The session will conclude with a facilitated panel discussion, and question and answer session. The overall goal of the session will be to share the "California Experience" with attendees, on the sources of on-land trash, the successful and not so successful management actions, and practical methods used to monitor improvements.

Preventing and Reducing Marine Litter in the North-East Atlantic

Session Chairs: Stefanie Werner, German Federal Environment Agency (UBA); John Mouat, OSPAR Commission

 This session will discuss the current status, trends in amounts and composition of marine litter in the North East  Atlantic and what can be done to prevent further introductions and reduce levels.

The North East Atlantic has a diverse marine environment, with a wide range of human activities (e.g. fishing, shipping, aquaculture and offshore oil and gas) and a high coastal population. This has led to levels of marine litter that OSPAR (Convention for the Protection of the North East Atlantic) Ministers highlighted as unacceptable in 2010. In the following years OSPAR has put in place a monitoring programme to assess levels and trends of marine litter on beaches, the seabed and in biota. In 2014 OSPAR adopted a Regional Action Plan (RAP) on marine litter, as called for at the 5th IMDC, and to address its commitment to "substantially reduce marine litter in the OSPAR Maritime Area to levels where properties and quantities do not cause harm to the marine environment" as also required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive to be achieved by 2020.

The Regional Action Plan sets out 31 common and 23 individual (national) actions that OSPAR Contracting Parties should take to prevent and reduce marine litter which address the relevant sea- and land-based sources as well as education and outreach.

This session will focus on two elements: the current state and trends in marine litter in the North East Atlantic based on recent OSPAR assessments and what further work is needed on monitoring; and the implementation of the OSPAR Regional Action Plan, what has been achieved so far and what more needs to be done to prevent further inputs and reduce levels of marine litter.

Monitoring is key not only of assessing quantities,trends and impacts of marine litter but also in identifying top items that should be addressed by dedicated measures. In 2017 OSPAR assessed three indicators on beach litter, seabed litter and plastic particles in fulmars' stomachs. However gaps in the monitoring programme remain and further indicators are being developed on microplastics and plastic particles in biota. The session will present these assessments and discuss how monitoring can be further improved.

The Regional Action Plan covers key marine litter issues such as port reception facilities, waste from the fishing industry, fines for littering at sea, fishing for litter, ALDFG, floating litter hotspots, improved waste management, sewage stormwater runoff, reduction of single use items, reduction of microplastics use and emissions and redesign of harmful products. Many actions are underway to tackle these issues, however further work is needed to fully implement the actions. The session will discuss the challenges and way forward for implementing regional action plans, including possibilities for cooperation and how they link to other regional and international legislation and other processes.

See Other Tracks: Monitoring and Citizen Science · Research and Microplastic/Microfibers · Prevention · Private Sector Collaboration, Technology, and Innovation · Education and Communication · Implementing Effective Law Regulations, and Policy · Removal · Single-Use Product Policies, Regulations and Laws · Derelict Fishing Gear

Photo this page: Jenna Jambeck