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Rebecca

Rebecca Prince-Ruiz

Year of Award: 2015 Award State: Western Australia Environment > Sustainability
Environment > Water
To investigate innovative programs of raising awareness, management and solutions to plastic pollution - USA, Netherlands, UK, Hong Kong
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Key lessons learned
Plastic pollution is a significant problem with environmental, economic and social costs – particularly in the world’s oceans. To fully raise awareness of the problem there needs to be collaboration around both effort and data collection. The focus on the problem needs to move beyond the ocean and beaches to the source in terms of choices and decisions that are made upstream. In Australia a range of organisations are working on the problem but need to come together at a national level to achieve results.

There is no one single solution to the plastic pollution problem. It will take a range of solutions across all three categories of collection, management and reduction, involving all stakeholders of governments, corporations and communities. The volume of plastic production, the ubiquitous nature of disposable plastic and the habits of modern consumerism mean that the problem is larger than any one organisation or stakeholder. Thus collaboration, and a connected approach which 6 shares solutions, is required to avoid duplication, to maximise efforts and shift plastic material flows from the current linear system to a truly circular economy. The “Heading Upstream” diagram created as part of my Fellowship provides a useful framework to visualise the diverse array of solutions and a shared picture of the issue and directions needing to be taken.

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