UC Law Environmental Journal


McKayla McMahon


The oceans are drowning in plastic pollution. Although it is widely accepted that this pollution exists, international law falls short in protecting one of our most valued ecosystems. Countries differ in commitment and accountability, yet the ocean is a shared and valued resource. This paper seeks to differentiate the approaches made by Germany, Australia, and the Philippines to combat marine plastic and microplastic pollution. In the absence of robust international environmental law, individual country’s efforts can expand the customary principles and lead the international community to adopt effective, all-encompassing international policy. By mirroring successes and modifying individual country’s ineffective approaches, the international community can unify the efforts of nation states and other actors to design and implement a comprehensive framework to tackle marine plastic pollution. The United Nations Environment Assembly must now create a robust, legal framework to prevent, protect, and enforce against plastic pollution in marine habitats.