20 Years of Government Responses to the Global Plastic Pollution Problem: The Plastics Policy Inventory


Plastic pollution in the ocean is a global problem that requires cooperation from a wide range of groups (e.g., governments, producers, consumers, researchers, civil society). This study aims to synthesize the policy response of governments to the global plastic pollution problem, as a basis for more rigorous monitoring of progress (as called for in Resolution 4/6 of the 2019 United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) meeting) and to inform future public policies.






Virdin, John, Rachel Karasik, Tibor Vegh, Amy Pickle, Zoie Diana, Daniel Rittschof, Janet Bering, Juan Caldas, et al. (2020). 20 Years of Government Responses to the Global Plastic Pollution Problem: The Plastics Policy Inventory. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/21347.



John Virdin

Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Division of Marine Science and Conservation

John Virdin is director of the Coastal and Ocean Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Virdin’s areas of expertise include assisting developing country governments to reform and strengthen their institutions responsible for ocean fisheries, thereby reducing poverty and enhancing sustainability, and creating policy and institutional frameworks governing a wide range of human activities that drive change in ocean ecosystems, including activities leading to the conversion or degradation of natural coastal habitats.

Virdin worked for more than 10 years at the World Bank, most recently as acting program manager for the Global Partnership for Oceans, a coalition of more than 150 governments, companies, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and multi-lateral agencies. He advised the Bank on oceans and fisheries governance and helped it increase its lending for sustainable oceans to more than $1 billion. His work led to development of programs that provided more than $125 million in funding for improved fisheries management in six West African nations and some $40 million for fisheries and ocean conservation in a number of Pacific Island nations.

Prior to his tenure at the World Bank, Virdin worked with the World Resources Institute, the Munson Foundation, the World Conservation Network, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Virdin holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wake Forest University.  He will receive his doctorate in marine policy from the University of Delaware in 2015.


Tibor Vegh

Senior Policy Associate

Tibor Vegh joined Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Environmental Economics Program in September 2012. He serves as a Policy Associate and is a collaborator on projects related to carbon markets, bioenergy, and blue carbon economics.

Tibor earned his master's degree in forestry from Northern Arizona University in 2011. There, his research focused on identifying whether or not partial offset of ponderosa pine forest restoration treatments is possible with payments for carbon offsets.

He earned his bachelor's degree at North Carolina State University in economics with a minor in mathematics. As an undergraduate researcher, he worked on modeling the effects of the North Carolina Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard on regional timber supply.


Daniel Rittschof

Norman L. Christensen Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sciences

My day to day research focus is ecology with emphasis on larval biology, chemical, behavioral, spatial ecology and environmental toxicology. Theoretical contributions are in the origins and evolution of chemical systems. Presently, there are three areas of focus: 1) Ecology and behavioral biology of local macroinvertebrates such as blue crabs and mud snails; 2) Barnacle models as they relate to fouling and the prevention of fouling and bioadhesives; 3. Impacts of xenobiotics on behavior and reproduction. I and my students are funded in all three areas with grants to work on a variety of aspects of ecology and reproduction of blue crabs, grants to study families of barnacles with heritable biological adhesive phenotypes and to provide expertise in barnacle biology and to provide living material for the Office of Naval Research Fouling Research program and funding to study impacts of biocide boosters on reproduction and fecundity of target and non target species. I am continuing to participate in an antifouling program in Singapore which began January 2000. The Singapore program has the goal of using drugs from medicine as environmentally benign antifoulants. I have recently begun collaborative research programs in India and Brazil.

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