In response to a formal written question put forward by Caroline Lucas MEP, the European Commission has acknowledged the problem of waste at sea but has given little hope for immediate action to prevent this spiralling problem.

In response to a formal written question put forward by Caroline Lucas MEP, the European Commission has acknowledged the problem of waste at sea but has given little hope for immediate action to prevent this spiralling problem.

The MEP asked the Commission whether action was being taken to “tackle the growing problem of growing ocean waste”.

In response, the Commission mentioned a number of steps being taken across Europe to reduce the likelihood of waste being discharged or dumped into the sea with particular attention given to the recent adoption of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

However, the Commission’s response noted that no ‘concrete proposals to help get rid of the plastic soup and remove its sources’ had been achieved as yet.

The term ‘plastic soup’ refers to specific regions in oceans where a floating mass of plastic gathers. The Pacific Garbage Patch is perhaps the most well known but other similar builds of waste exist in the Atlantic Ocean too.

It was also announced that the Commission is considering the organisation of a workshop to “gather scientific data, identify stakeholders and promote an open and constructive debate focused on concrete solutions.”

Such a workshop is of vital importance and should be organised as soon as possible.

MARINE LITTER BROCHURE

Just last month, in collaboration with the North Sea Foundation, Seas At Risk presented a brochure highlighting the problem of marine litter to stakeholders at the International Maritime Organisation – the UN agency responsible for Maritime affairs.

The brochure was presented at a side-event at the IMO where Charles Moore, discoverer of the Pacific Garbage Patch, addressed stakeholders on the devastating effects of waste at sea.

Seas At Risk is pressing for stronger measures to prevent the build of waste at sea with specific regard to the review of both the EU Directive 2000/59 on Port Reception Facilities and also the IMO’s review of Marpol Annex V.

For the full response and link to Caroline Lucas’s question

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