ocean bound plastic?

What is it? And why it is very important!


Ocean Bound Plastic is a plastic waste that is not managed correctly and is abandoned in the environment where it will be transported to the Oceans either by rain, wind, tides, river flow, floods. Ocean Bound Plastic finds it’s origin on land and does not include voluntary or involuntary littering by marine activities.


Ocean Bound Plastic is indirectly defined by the publication of Jenna Jembeck et al. in Science on 13th February 2015, based on that literature, and consultation with peer groups we have summarized that:

Ocean Bound Plastic is Abandoned Plastic Waste of all size  (micro-plastics, mezzo-plastics and macro-plastics) located within the range of 50km from shore in communities or areas where waste management is inexistent or very inefficient. Plastic Waste in landfills or managed dumps is not considered OBP but Plastic Waste in uncontrolled, informal dumps is considered OBP if within the 50 km distance from shore.

We also have defined 2 stricter subcategories of Ocean Bound Plastic in order to focus more precisely on the leaking points of Ocean Bound Plastic in the seas.

A) Waterways Ocean Bound Plastic: Abandoned Plastic Waste located within a river stream or within a distance of 200m from both sides of the river stream.

Our Waterways category goes beyond the 50 km from shore distance, simply because rivers either in the form of macro-plastic (when they float) or micro-plastics (from the micro-plastic degradation or micro-plastic sources) potentially carry plastics to Oceans from way more than 50 km.

B) Shoreline Ocean Bound Plastic: Abandoned Plastic Waste located within 200m from the highest tide line towards land and 100m from the lowest tide line towards the sea.


The vast majority of plastics contaminating Oceans originate from land and were therefore previously Ocean bound Plastics, indeed, it is commonly admitted that 80% of Plastic in the Seas, come from land.

Needless to say that collecting these plastics before they reach Oceans is easier and cheaper than once they have drowned in the bottom of Oceans or are dispersed as a soup of micro particles for the ones that float (1% of what enters Oceans).

Consequently it is vey logical and important to focus our effort on removing Ocean Bound Plastic from the environment before it’s too late.

The public consultation period on the revised OBP Program Standards is now open!
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