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Research group for Natural Resource Law, Environmental Law and Development Law
Research project

The role of business entities in combatting marine plastic pollution

PhD candidate Barbara Bokor at the Faculty of Law in Bergen is researching the regulation of plastic pollution.

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Lene Nevermo Hanssen

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This research project deals with the regulatory framework to combat increase of plastic pollution in the oceans and is part of the research collaboration and focus of the University of Bergen in the priority areas on marine plastic, and especially in marine research.

As our knowledge about the exact implications of plastic is controversial particularly because of the complexity and difficulty of measuring long-term exposure and compounding effects therefore we need further research and enhanced measures. Several innovations and improvement efforts demonstrate potential, but these still seem to be too fragmented and uncoordinated to have a significant impact.

Marine plastic is high on the research agenda at UiB.

The problem of plastic in the sea

About 70% of our planet is covered by water, mostly by oceans that offer enormous potential for human development. Nevertheless, there is also concern about marine life. Population growth, urbanization, and the concentration of human activity in coastal areas will increase pressure on the oceans, simultaneously with climate change, pollution, marine litter, overfishing, and the destruction of coastal ecosystems which also endangers the oceans. The pollution of the marine environment as a consequence of the introduction of waste – especially plastics, which have increasingly become a ubiquitous substance in the ocean – is one of the greatest and most serious environmental challenges we have to face nowadays.

The exponential growth in the consumption and use of plastics in modern society and the inadequate management of the resulting waste have led to its accumulation in the aquatic ecosystem. It is indisputable now that plastic is a problem at all stages of its life cycle and poses an urgent threat not only to our seas but also to the environment, human health and even to our economy. Plastic pollution is a serious and rapidly growing issue of concern that needs an urgent and effective solution.

A legal PhD project in the regulation of plastic pollution

The PhD project "The role of business entities in combatting marine plastic pollution" deals with the legal and economic aspects of marine plastic pollution. The active participation of the corporate sector is essential to reduce the impacts and costs of plastics on the environment. Therefore, the research aims to identify possible ways how the role of the private sector could be defined and what kind of environmental regulatory instruments could be the most efficient to have bearing on their decision-making process and behavior in tackling marine plastic pollution.

The research has an interdisciplinary methodology by taking into consideration the economic impacts and interactions between environmental regulations and competitiveness; how the different types of environmental regulatory instruments affect economic growth and development.

About the team

The PhD researcher in this project is Barbara Bokor, a specialist in the field of International Economy and Business and with extensive expertise in the field of energy law and regulatory law from private practice. Barbara is under the supervision of Prof. Sigrid Eskeland Schütz and Ass. Prof. Ignacio Herrera-Anchustegui, all three members of the Research group for Natural Resource Law, Environmental Law and Development Law of the Faculty of Law.