Tackling plastic pollution at the source
Maldives SHiFT is a holistic programme to help tackle plastic pollution in Maldives, led by eXXpedition CIC, in partnership with the DEFRA-funded Ocean Country Partnership Programme, the University of Georgia and the Commonwealth Secretariat, and with the support of the High Commission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Kingdom.
The initial phase of the Maldives SHiFT programme begins in 2023 and will consist of three parts: a Virtual Leadership Programme, a Circularity Assessment and an action-focused Stakeholder Meeting.
Following this initial phase, eXXpedition intends to support the implementation of solutions to plastic pollution, in line with the findings of the Circulatory Assessment and outcomes from the Stakeholder Meeting.
Plastic pollution in the ocean is causing devastating environmental and health impacts globally and there’s no silver bullet solution to solve it. The problem needs to be tackled at the source and approached from many angles simultaneously.
At a community level, individuals and local groups need empowered leaders to drive their awareness and help them understand the real problem of, and solutions to, plastic pollution in their local environment.
Decision-makers at a local, national and international level need data to take an informed holistic approach to identify successful research-driven solutions in policy, infrastructure and industry innovation.
eXXpedition is a not-for-profit organisation on a mission to help people understand the true ocean plastic and toxic pollution problem, so they can use their skills to solve it from sea to source. eXXpedition runs transformative journeys at sea, on land and online to research the causes of and solutions to the ocean plastic pollution problem, and virtual leadership programmes to inspire long lasting change in communities. eXXpedition is led by Emily Penn who has spent 15 years researching and tackling plastic pollution in oceanic gyres, with small island communities, and with industry and government to cultivate solutions.
The University of Georgia (UGA)’s Circularity Informatics Lab is committed to information sharing, data analytics, empowering communities, and systems change related to circular materials management. Professor Jenna Jambeck, who leads this lab, has been conducting research on solid waste issues for over 25 years with related projects on marine debris since 2001 and her work on plastic waste inputs into the ocean has been recognized by the global community and translated into global policy discussions.
The DEFRA-funded Ocean Country Partnership Programme (OCPP) supports countries to strengthen marine science expertise, develop science-based policy and management tools, and create educational resources for coastal communities with a focus on marine pollution, sustainable seafood and marine biodiversity. The programme is funded through official development assistance (ODA) as part of the UK’s Blue Planet Fund. Through the OCPP, the UK partners with ODA-eligible countries to deliver tangible and positive impacts on the livelihoods of coastal communities that depend on healthy marine ecosystems. Work in OCPP is primarily delivered by the UK government’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 56 independent and equal sovereign states, home to 2.4 billion people. The Commonwealth Secretariat is an independent organisation working with the 56 member countries, assisting them to together promote prosperity, democracy and peace, amplify the voice of small states, and protect the environment. The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Trade, Ocean and Natural Resources Directorate assists its member countries to sustainably manage their natural resources, in the ocean and on land, for the benefit of present and future generations. The Secretariat provides technical assistance supporting member countries in the development of policies, laws, fiscal regimes and strengthening national institutions. The Commonwealth Blue Charter is an agreement by Commonwealth countries to actively cooperate in addressing the myriad of ocean-related challenges and commitments that they face.