Freeing the oceans from plastic bag pollution through law: mirage or horizon? An experiment in numerical comparative law on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean


Bonnin Marie

50 % Allocation, doctorale ISBLUE | 50 % UBO EDSML

Protecting the environment from damaging human activities is one of humanity’s biggest challenges for the XXIst century. As the world’s largest ecosystem, the ocean faces multiple threats damaging its health and resilience. Among these threats, land-based pollution – mainly caused by plastic, pesticides and sewage - represents 80% of pollution at sea. Internationally and nationally, legal texts aiming to protect the ocean have sprouted these last decades. Nevertheless, in absence of adequate methodologies and tools, one cannot determine the extent to which this regulatory bloom hides protection voids, or contributes to an enhanced protection of the environment. In answer to these challenges, this PhD thesis develops and tests a methodology and tools to qualitatively and quantitatively assess and score adopted laws’ potential contribution to the protection of the environment. This objective required the design of a new analytical framework, based on the analysis of two complementary aspects of the regulations: their comprehensiveness and their forcefulness. This framework sets the ground for the identification of legal indicators. In addition, the specific design of a relational database enables multicriteria comparative analyses. The chosen thematic focus is the regulation of plastic bags, iconic single-use and widely regulated objects. The spatial focus is set on the analysis of the legal texts adopted by seven countries across the Atlantic Ocean (Brazil, Cape Verde, France, Ireland, Senegal, United Kingdom and United States of America). Overall, this work’s objective is to facilitate dialogue between law and other disciplines, and access to legal data.



View link