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Special Issue "Social-Ecological Systems and Marine Plastic Pollution"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 929

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Takuro Uehara
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University, Osaka, Japan
Interests: social–ecological system modeling; system dynamics; ecological economics; stated preference methods; satoumi
Dr. Mateo Cordier
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CEARC-OVSQ, Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines – Université Paris-Saclay, 78280 Guyancourt, France
Interests: macroeconomic modeling; ecological economics; plastic pollution; waste; marine ecosystems; ecosystem services; steady state economy; degrowth; economic growth

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The amount of plastic waste present in global social–ecological systems (SESs) cannot be neglected. The annual flow of plastics entering the global ocean in 2010 was estimated to be 4.8–12.7 MT/year (Jambeck et al., 2015). It is expected that the total amount of plastic waste accumulated in the global ocean will double from 2010 to 2025 (Cordier and Uehara, 2019; Jambeck et al., 2015). This growing trend is likely to continue beyond 2025 and at least up to 2040 if effective measures are not implemented (Lau et al., 2020).

Living in the “plasticene” (Ten Brink et al., 2017), solutions to marine plastic pollution should be analyzed and designed considering they are part of the SES; ignoring this might lead to new problems. While making an immediate and significant investment terminating and eradicating marine plastic waste could slow the economy (Cordier and Uehara, 2019), the procrastination of action could harm both society and the environment to an unforeseeable and irreversible degree (Uehara, 2020; UNEP, 2014; Villarrubia-Gómez et al., 2017). A solution needs to consider how it impacts the SES as marine plastic pollution and its treatment are part of the SES.

In this Special Issue, we invite studies focusing on non-technological solutions rather than technological innovations (Ellen MacArthur Foundation et al., 2016). Technological solutions alone are not sufficient to solve this issue (Cordier and Uehara, 2019). Furthermore, a solution must be feasible and effective in the context of SES. What kinds of non-technological solutions would be feasible and able to effectively reduce marine plastic pollution and contribute to a desirable SES? This is the research question addressed in this Special Issue, which will accept original and review research that addresses the following topics (non-exhaustive list):

  • Social–ecological system modeling and simulation analysis;
  • Governance (e.g., better regulation and control);
  • Nudges (e.g., governmental information campaigns, information nudges, and default rules (Sunstein et al., 2019));
  • Command and control policies (e.g., banning single-use plastic products and forbidding planned obsolescence of products);
  • Incentive mechanisms (e.g., a return and deposit system);
  • Environmental education and education for sustainable development to encourage pro-environmental behavior;
  • Holistic assessment of non-technological solutions with respect to their impacts on the SES;
  • COVID-19 and marine plastic pollution.

This Special Issue is open to all scientific fields, such as natural sciences, engineering and technology, medical and health sciences, social sciences, and humanities, as long as they fit the scope described above.

Prof. Dr. Takuro Uehara
Dr. Mateo Cordier
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Plastic pollution
  • Modeling
  • Scenario analysis
  • Corruption and lobbying
  • social–ecological system
  • governance
  • education for sustainable development
  • nudge

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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