OR&R Joins Workshop on the Social Cost of Plastic Pollution
FEB. 5, 2024 — The NOAA Marine Debris Program's (MDP) Chief Scientist, Amy V. Uhrin, and Research Coordinator, Carlie Herring, attended Duke University’s Workshop on the Social Cost of Plastic Pollution held January 26 in Washington D.C. The workshop brought together a small group of experts, with expertise in climate economics, the social cost of carbon, environmental justice, and plastic pollution to discuss the feasibility of measuring the social cost of plastic, and to propose a research agenda moving forward.
The workshop was very timely in that MDP is supporting a more in-depth examination of the social cost of plastic pollution via an award to the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). NCEAS will form the Working Group on the Cost of Plastic Pollution whose aim is to develop a framework for estimating the dollar value of avoided plastic pollution. This working group will include subject matter experts across a number of economic and scientific disciplines, including marine debris and waste management experts, policy experts, and both fishery and environmental economists. This effort does not seek to produce a singular dollar value, but rather develop the framework, identify existing knowledge and data gaps, and hopefully motivate future research to refine and develop this framework. This work will allow local, state, and federal public agencies to make better-informed decisions on the management of the manufacturing, use, and disposal of plastics.