What potential does the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive have for reducing plastic pollution at coastlines and riversides? An evaluation based on citizen science data

The current study assesses the potential of the Single-Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) to reduce litter pollution in the environment in three different scenarios. In the best-case” scenario, it was assumed that all measures of the SUPD completely prevent targeted items from getting into the environment. Another scenario assumed that no measures other than bans were effective. An intermediate scenario that assumed partial effectiveness of measures. The scenario analysis in the current study revealed that substantial litter reductions could be achieved in the “best case” scenario (upwards of 40%), while the intermediate scenario resulted in litter reductions of 13 to 25%. The marginal effect of the “only bans” scenario achieved a reduction of 2–6% in Germany and the European Union, respectively. The current study highlights that further legislative actions are required to effectively prevent plastic waste pollution.


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