New policy tool could shrink the Maldives’ plastic waste by 85 per cent

A study published today (19 January) in the journal Global Environmental Change reveals a new policy tool, ‘Plastic Drawdown’, could lead to significant reductions in plastic waste in the Maldives.

Plastic bottle wasteCo-authored by experts at the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, Eunomia, Nekton, The Government of the Maldives, and Common Seas, the study found that five policy solutions could prevent as much as 85 per cent of plastic pollution by 2030. Without action, the study revealed, plastic pollution would rise by 45 per cent.

Created by social enterprise Common Seas, the ‘Plastic Drawdown’ tool has been designed for countries with limited data, used in partnership with practitioners in the Maldives to explore solutions to minimise plastic waste, with the Government later introducing a phase-out strategy for single-use plastics.

Common Seas is now seeking new partnerships to scale this work to new geographies in 2022 and beyond.

A spokesman for the President of the Maldives said: “Plastic Drawdown was critical in building the case for phasing out single-use plastics across the Maldives.

“The model gave the Maldivian government the confidence to set an ambitious target to phase out single-use plastics by 2023, as announced by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at the UN General Assembly in 2019.

“Common Seas delivered not only solid evidence for what we could achieve, but also practical advice on how to achieve it.”

Common Seas CEO Jo Royle said: “More than half of the world’s most plastic polluting countries do not have an adequate plan in place to tackle plastic pollution.

“The Maldives, a beautiful country tainted by the curse of plastic waste, is showing ambition and real leadership on this issue.

“In 2022 we are excited to see the Plastic Drawdown model rolled out across the world.”

Associate Professor of University of Oxford and Principal Scientist of Nekton Lucy Woodall said: “To see a direct impact from research in such a short time is rare.

“With Plastic Drawdown we have shown that powerful decisions can be made with limited data when there is a robust framework in place to share knowledge. I am delighted to have been a small part of this collaboration.”