Member states have put in place over 200 marine monitoring programmes across the EU to measure the quality of the marine environment and to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy measures that they are taking to improve it. However, an evaluation by the European Commission shows that those data collection efforts fail to cover some key problems, such as marine litter and noise pollution.
The European Commission’s newly released Roadmap for the EU Strategy on Plastics in a Circular Economy fails to get to the root of the problem of plastics, according to the #BreakFreeFromPlastic Movement.
The answer is provided by two parallel studies carried out by Legambiente, Seas At Risk Member. The analysis of the types of plastic sampled during the 2016 summer campaigns looked at the types of waste collected, their chemical characterisation and possible solutions for stopping the leakage.
Brussels - Over the summer, 100 NGOs from across the world came together to strategise how to tackle the ever growing plastic pollution problem. Today the vision they created is launched, and we ask the European union to rise to the challenge to break free from plastic.
Brussels – It’s been a very tempestuous week of political fallout since the UK voted by 52% to leave the European Union in a public vote. Seas At Risk is determined to continue working with its members inside and outside the UK for a healthy marine environment.
8 June is the United Nations day for World Oceans. The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘healthy oceans, healthy planet’, yet developments during 2016 have shown just how much more needs to be done to preserve our seas from the effects of human activity.
It’s springtime, and with the improving weather comes the annual beach cleaning season! Seas At Risk member organisations across Europe have activated their own membership and organised their annual beach cleans.
This year was a particularly busy one, with a third of SAR members organising some activity based around getting citizens to play a role in cleaning up their marine environment. The events are not just aimed at improving the visual and ecological environment of the beaches that are targeted – many of the organisation also collect data on the waste they collect, to better inform policy makers when they try to tackle them at source. They also seek to increase the awareness of the general public to the damage we do to the marine environment through careless and excess use of resources, particularly single use plastics.In Denmark, the Danish Society for Nature Conservation has set a new record for participants in their annual waste collection, with over 123,000 students participating in their coastal collections in April. They collected a record amount of waste, half of which was plastic. In France, the Surfrider Foundation has released the results of its five year study (French) of marine litter waste found in beach clean-ups there. An overwhelming 80% of waste identified contained plastic of some sort. Their Ocean Initiatives programme aims to help citizens get involved in the fight. Greece saw two SAR members active, with the Mediterranean SOS Network assembling over 200 supporters, including world swimming champion Spyros Giannioti, to clean up the beaches of the port town of Piraeus. Meanwhile, Archipelagos have been cleaning up waste and sunken boats that have accumulated as a result of the refugee crisis off Greece’s coast. The Netherlands are looking to the future, as the North Sea Foundation has set the date of their clean-up for early August, when they hope to collect over 1.2 million plastic waste items. They profiled a report from their new project leader, Marijke Boonstra, who has been conducting her first beach survey. She located about 270 items over a mere 100 metres. The Wadden Sea Association were emphasising the fun at their annual event, with their clean up in April designed to clear the beach areas for the birds nesting there. Norway’s Naturvernforbundet followed on from their 7 May event with tips and advice on how to limit one’s own waste impact. In Spain, Retorna brought their focus on deposit return schemes to the clean-up cause. After participating in the Valencian beach clean with Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and others, they estimated that 75% of the waste located was plastic bottles and drinks cans. For the UK, two SAR members have been working away for cleaner beaches. The Marine Conservation Society have had their most successful ‘Great British Beach Clean’ yet, with over 6035 volunteering for it, the most ever in their 22 year history. Surfers Against Sewage delivered another record breaker, with 231 beaches across the UK cleaned in mid-April, with 8000 volunteers finding all sorts of debris, including a set of false teeth! They are also profiling their ‘Mini Beach Clean’ idea, to allow individuals to play a role in the fight against marine litter at any time in the year. Internationally, our partners in Project Aware took a slightly alternative option, marking this year’s Earth Day (22 April) with their Dive Against Debris programme, which involves divers cleaning up the actual sea floor and ocean itself from some of the worst items of marine litter.
Brussels – today the European Commission adopted a new Circular Economy package, including a commitment to continue to work on the EU headline marine litter reduction target, and to develop a strategy on plastics in the Circular Economy.
Brussels - Seas At Risk is dismayed that the new European Commission has announced it will withdraw key environmental legislative proposals in its 2015 work programme, including the vital circular economy package and its waste legislation review.
Brussels - Seas At Risk and other environmental NGOs have sent an open letter today to European Commission President Juncker and Vice-President Timmermans, requesting that they do not withdraw the vital waste management proposal.
Brussels - Seas At Risk has commemorated its 25th anniversary with a special marine litter policy event followed by a celebratory party at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels.
Brussels, 4th November 2014: A policy seminar on marine litter and the circular economy.
Brussels - Karmenu Vella, candidate for Commissioner for Fisheries and Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, survived his hearing in the European Parliament relatively unscathed, but without convincing that the Juncker Commission will put sustainability at the heart of their agenda.
The European Commission has today issued a headline reduction target for marine litter in Europe as part of its Communication on a Circular Economy. We believe that this target is inadequate and will need to be significantly strengthened to really tackle the problem of waste entering our seas.
OSPAR today adopted its long-awaited Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter, designed to promote concerted action to reduce marine litter in the NE Atlantic. Seas At Risk regrets that the plan fails to set quantifiable reduction targets or to provide strong solutions to counter this increasingly worrying problem.
Brussels, 8th May 2014: As much as 80% of marine litter is from landbased sources; it therefore makes sense that to combat our marine debris problem, we need land based solutions.
Brussels, 16th April 2014 - Seas At Risk welcomes today’s vote by the European Parliament that will enable member states to ban plastic bags and that sets a strong target of 80% reduction in usage within five years.
This is a good first step towards preventing these damaging and wasteful items from entering our seas. The promotion of biodegradable bags, however will damage the overall effectiveness of the measure in tackling marine litter.