The Ocean Legacy Foundation is a Canadian action-based non-profit organization founded in 2014 with the goal to end ocean plastic waste. The foundation is led by Executive Director and Co-founder Chloe Dubois, and is supported by a board of directors, technical advisory committee, specialists, government leaders and hundreds of volunteers worldwide. The Foundation develops and implements plastic pollution emergency response programs and innovative marine debris solutions worldwide. The foundation has currently removed approximately 174,675 pounds of plastic waste from over 125 kilometers of shoreline from 5 different countries, while engaging hundreds of thousands of individuals in plastic pollution awareness and education.
Scope of work
In 2018, the Ocean Legacy Foundation designed a plastic pollution emergency response program called EPIC that incorporates a four-pillar hands-on approach: Education, Policy, Infrastructure and Cleanup to catalse worldwide action around plastic pollution-free lands and oceans. The EPIC program targets ecologically sensitive locations and communities that have a plastic pollution crisis, as well as inadequate management capacity for solid waste and plastic pollution. The program assists with the restoration of natural ecosystems for improved human and wildlife health, as well as develops long-term plastic collection, processing infrastructure and policy to mitigate oceanic plastic pollution sources.
The Ocean Legacy Foundation works with communities that are in a plastic pollution crisis through an Emergency Management System that incorporates mitigation, prevention, response, and recovery measures. The system takes a methodical approach towards hazard assessments and strategic planning to minimize the impact of risks to marine life, property and the environment. This system also provides the foundation for coordinating and integrating all activities necessary to build, sustain and improve the capability and capacity to mitigate, prepare and plan for, respond to and recover from threatened or actual plastic disasters. The four EPIC pillars that support this Emergency Management System are:
Education & Research – This pillar provides essential knowledge and skill training opportunities for community members to collect valuable data while learning about the effects of plastic pollution and solutions for a plastic free environment. Examples of the tools utilized in this pillar include:
- The Ocean Legacy Foundation’s handbook on Marine Debris Solutions: Transforming Wasted Plastic into a Valuable Resource;
- Youth outreach with plastic management curriculum;
- Interactive online mapping system and Hot Spot portal;
- Shoreline monitoring and evaluation program;
- Interactive community engagement, leadership and training and initiatives;
- Research initiatives with leading herpetologists; and
- Hands on plastic sorting and resin code identification training.
Policy & Advocacy – This pillar evaluates existing regulations, policies, programs and practices to identify management gaps, while supporting the development of sustainable strategies to end plastic pollution in communities. Examples of the tools utilized in this pillar include:
- Marine Debris Solutions program;
- Impelling government change and leadership;
- Harmonious collaboration and liaison with volunteers, organizations, governments, Indigenous groups, industry and international partners to move towards:
- Prohibiting the disposal of materials that can be recycled;
- Extended Producer Responsibility standards; and
- Restrictions on certain products and packaging that pose specific threats to the environment.
Infrastructure Development – This pillar identifies what recycling systems and technological solutions exist in regional areas to either enhance or build the infrastructure needed to address the requirement to create a plastic circular economy for communities. Examples of the tools utilized in this pillar include:
- Zero Waste System that:
- Processes plastic waste to increase the capture of materials before they reach aquatic environments and to encourage further extraction; and
- Manage plastic consumption to induce the plastic producer to build reverse supply chains for products and packing.
- Technological innovation to stimulate innovation to process contaminated plastic to further reduce landfill input to drive the supply of recovered materials for use in manufacturing;
- Collaboration with large technological businesses and manufacturers to create innovative solutions to plastic pollution with larger partnerships to convert debris materials into valuable products;
- Employment opportunities and economic development with the circular economy of plastic items; and
- Development of a plastic certification framework for the marine industry.
Cleanup & Restoration – This pillar is action-based engagement that physically removes plastic pollution from the environment to restore ecologically sensitive environments to create cleaner and safer communities. Examples of the tools utilized in this pillar include:
- International Cleanup Series strategic plan and framework;
- Survey of plastic congestion through the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration survey guidelines;
- Shoreline cleanup strategies and best management work practices for collection, sorting, transporting and processing materials; and
- Shoreline cleanup best management safety standards.
Links to website and social media
- Marine Solutions Centre: 7770 Vantage Way, Delta, B.C. Canada V4G 1A7
- Mailing address: 13537 64A Avenue, Surrey, B.C. Canada V3W 9H6
Network partners at International Waste Platform have teamed up with Less Plastic UK to launch a global campaign to reduce single-use plastic items and packaging in the hospitality and retail sector.