At a European Commission Workshop yesterday Green MEP Keith Taylor called on the EU to take action on marine litter as Commissioner Potočnik urged for greater focus on solutions.

At a European Commission Workshop yesterday Green MEP Keith Taylor called on the EU to take action on marine litter as Commissioner Potočnik urged for greater focus on solutions.

Across European beaches current levels of litter are unacceptable with on average 712 items per 100m of beach. Not only is it an eyesore but 94% of North Sea Fulmars are found with plastic in their stomachs and last year municipalities in the Netherlands and UK spent approximately €28 million cleaning beaches.

Seas At Risk, speaking at the event on awareness raising, also called for urgent action at a European level and echoed the comments of the UK MEP as he pressed the Commission for stronger measures to discourage dumping of ship waste at sea.

Indeed, with the current review of the Port Reception Facilities Directive expected to pick up speed next year, the EU is presented with a golden opportunity to target litter originating from ships and remove the economic disincentives to discharging waste at reception facilities.

The workshop dedicated to marine litter brought together NGOs, scientists, policy makers and industry groups with the focus on exploring possible solutions to marine litter.

Seas At Risk also called on the European Commission to ensure that the recent OSPAR Ministerial Meeting commitment to establish a target for the reduction of marine litter by 2012 is achieved and that the target is ambitious enough to play a proper part in achieving Good Environmental Status under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Finally, Seas At Risk additionally picked up on land based sources, highlighting the need for solution orientated policy options at the European level. For more information see the Seas At Risk/KIMO International litter manifesto below.

Workshop report

To read Environment Commissioner Potočnik's speech

For more information on ship waste dumping

Litter Manifesto for the North-East Atlantic

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