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05 April 2018

The unique citizen science survey Dive Against Debris®, launched by Seas At Risk member, Project AWARE, has removed one million items of rubbish from the ocean. This huge milestone in the fight against marine debris was reached by scuba divers around the world and serves to shine a light on the global marine litter crisis.

Dive Against Debris® was launched in 2011 as part of Project AWARE®’s work to create positive change for the ocean through community action. Since then, it has seen 49,188 volunteer divers from 114 countries take part, in an effort both to clean up the ocean and to amass irrefutable evidence of the problem, with which to convince decision-makers and influence policy change.

Recreational and professional divers have retrieved a diverse array of objects, from sunbeds to batteries and shoes, as well as vast quantities of plastic bags, cutlery and bottles. The data collected captures essential information for scientists seeking to estimate the volume of debris that has sunk to the seafloor. It also supports crucial work to find solutions to save vulnerable marine life and ensure the future of clean and healthy oceans.

This milestone comes at a time of unprecedented focus on the issue of plastic pollution and its impact on ocean health. With scientists estimating that some 20 million tonnes of plastic waste may enter the ocean every year, the United Nations and national governments stepped up their efforts in 2017 to eliminate plastic waste. The European Commission, for example, recently adopted the first-ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics, as part of the transition towards a more circular economy.

With almost 70% of all items reported through Dive Against Debris® being plastics, the project has provided data which is helping to convince decision-makers to adopt more stringent policies on plastics. In December 2017, the Vanuatu government announced a ban on the import and local manufacturing of non-biodegradable plastics. This ban was based on studies done by environmental groups, including local dive centre, Big Blue.

Key Statistics on Dive Against Debris®:

One million pieces of rubbish removed and reported since 2011

49,188 - scuba divers 5,351 - surveys 114 - countries around the world 5,597 - entangled or dead animals 64% - plastic waste 307,064kgs / 676,959lbs - total weight of rubbish collected

Following the unprecedented success of this initiative, Project AWARE® is now asking divers to remove and report one million more pieces of rubbish by the end of 2020, in a bid to highlight the true scale of the marine debris problem. For more information and to get involved visit www.projectaware.org

 

15 March 2018

On 5th March, the European Policy Centre, together with the Mission of Norway to the European Union, hosted the Policy Dialogue Plastics and Oceans: How can Europe end further discharge into the oceans? Seas At Risk’s Marine Litter Policy Officer, Emma Priestland, was in attendance, to share the message that ocean plastics are not an impossible problem to solve, provided immediate action is taken. Several solutions are already available to make this happen.

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02 February 2018

The European Commission recently released its proposal for the revision of the Port Reception Facilities Directive. This proposal is vital for the protection of the marine environment, as it aims to prevent the dumping of ships’ waste at sea. Here, Seas At Risk takes a closer look at the two major changes proposed to improve waste delivery in ports: harmonisation of fees, and expansion of the system to include fishing boats.

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30 January 2018

The European Commission has announced its intention to significantly reduce the use of plastic bottles and other single-use plastic items on its premises. All eyes are now on the European Parliament and the European Council to step up and follow suit.  

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16 January 2018

Today in a huge win for the marine environment, the European Commission has committed to legislate against single-use plastic items in the new Strategy on Plastic in the Circular Economy. This would put the EU in a global leadership position in the fight against the relentless flow of plastic lids, stirrers and drinking straws into the oceans.

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16 January 2018

Today the European Commission released a long awaited proposal for a revised law to govern the delivery of waste from ships in ports and fishing harbours. The proposal contains vital changes in how ships will deliver waste in ports and pay for it, changes that have long been campaigned for by environmental NGOs concerned with the impacts of waste dumping on the oceans.

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11 January 2018

Plastic bottles and bottle caps feature in the top 10 most frequently encountered litter items in the marine environment, rivers and along coastlines. In response, Seas At Risk member Surfrider Foundation Europe launched the awareness campaign Reset Your Habits in 2017. The campaign aims to reduce at-source pollution caused by plastic bottles by replacing these disposable bottles with reusable, sustainable alternatives. In this context, Surfrider recently published its White paper for an ocean free from plastic bottles.

The large-scale pollution caused by plastic items needs to be met with urgent and effective global action. Surfrider’s report looks at the overall cycle of the water bottle and recommends the following actions:

Improve the eco-design of plastic bottles. Reduce the production of plastic bottles, including small volumes. Reduce the distribution of plastic bottles by replacing these with alternatives. Reduce the consumption of plastic bottles by promoting alternatives. Improve the end-of-life management of plastic bottles.

Decision-makers, industry and citizens all have a role to play in making this happen. The EU, in particular, should lead the fight against such pollution by taking ambitious measures in its forthcoming Strategy on Plastics in a Circular Economy, due in January 2018. Discontinuing single-use plastic items, including bottles, would be a significant step towards addressing the threat posed by plastic pollution.  

06 December 2017

In its new report ‘Tackling overfishing and marine litter’, Seas At Risk undertakes an analysis of fisheries and marine litter measures adopted by Member States under the Marine Directive. While noting some progress, it concludes that much more effort is needed to achieve healthy fish stocks and reduce harm from marine litter by 2020. The report also provides recommendations on the measures needed.

06 December 2017

In its new report ‘Tackling overfishing and marine litter’, Seas At Risk undertakes an analysis of fisheries and marine litter measures adopted by Member States under the Marine Directive. While noting some progress, it concludes that much more effort is needed to achieve healthy fish stocks and reduce harm from marine litter by 2020. The report also provides recommendations on the measures needed.

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26 October 2017

The study "Single use plastic and the marine environment" includes:

Estimations using limited available data on the quantities of certain single use plastic items used in Europe and nationally. Items investigated include bottles, take away packaging, cigarette butts, plastic straws and coffee cups.  A looks at how legislation can reduce these plastics, how it's ready to go and already enjoys wide public support. Reducing these items could dramatically reduce the amount of plastic pollution in European seas and beaches.  Case studies of plastic reducing pioneers: towns that have already taken action and the benefits they have found.

Please find the full background document here

The summary report below with main findings here below: 

 

29 September 2017

In response to the letter sent by Seas At Risk and 6 other NGOs calling on the EU institutions to give up their addiction to single use plastics, the Commission and the Council both claim they are working towards greener public procurement. The Parliament has to date provided no response to the letter sent on 31st March, raising questions on their commitment to the Circular Economy.

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10 July 2017

Rethink Plastic has sent an open letter to the European Commission calling on them to propose strong and harmonised EU legislation within the EU Strategy on Plastics – due to be published at the end of 2017. We call for concrete policy action on reducing, redesigning and better managing plastics, and challenge the Commission to think broader and bolder, including trying to live plastic free for a day. #RethinkPlastic!

More information: rethinkplasticalliance.eu 

 

27 June 2017

At a conference of the European Network of the Heads of Environment Protection Agencies (EPA),  Seas At Risk presented a plea for Europe to take a strong stand against plastic pollution in the upcoming Plastic Strategy.

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21 June 2017

Marine Litter was at the forefront of discussions at the UN Ocean Conference that ran from the 5th to the 9th June at the UN headquarters in New York.  Seas At Risk addressed solutions to the global threat, by co-hosting a side event and submitting a commitment on single use plastics.

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13 April 2017

Seven European environmental NGOs are challenging the European Council, Parliament and Commission to practice what they preach and implement greener public procurement in their own buildings by phasing out single use plastics.

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31 March 2017

Seas At Risk and six other NGOs, all part of the international Break Free From Plastic movement, have sent a letter to the heads of the three main European institutions calling on them to commit to making their buildings single use plastic free.

09 February 2017

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.

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27 January 2017

This week, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted on a set of amendments to waste legislation that is being revised to bring about a circular economy in Europe. Overall the amendments strengthened the initial Commission proposals.

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