The European marine environment has become engulfed in litter, most of which is plastic. It is an entirely anthropogenic pollutant that damages not only the marine environment, but also marine industries and the aesthetic quality of coastal environments. It is multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral and it is a human responsibility to significantly reduce quantities of marine litter in the short term and ultimately act towards resolving the problem for future generations.
 
 
The European marine environment has become engulfed in litter, most of which is plastic. It is an entirely anthropogenic pollutant that damages not only the marine environment, but also marine industries and the aesthetic quality of coastal environments. It is multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral and it is a human responsibility to significantly reduce quantities of marine litter in the short term and ultimately act towards resolving the problem for future generations.
 

The problem results from failures at an individual, local, national, EU and international level. Seas At Risk’s work focuses on the EU and international level, and at these levels it is clear that existing regulation has failed to tackle the problem of marine litter originating from both from sea and land-based sources.

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is the only existing EU legislation that explicitly requires EU Member States to come up with measures to reduce marine litter. Under this Directive, Member States are obliged to implement monitoring programmes and measures to reduce marine litter. The goal is to achieve ‘good environmental status’ and 2020 will be the first deadline to assess whether or not the state of the European marine environment has improved. If Member States take this Directive and the problem of marine litter seriously, measures to reduce marine litter will be required at all levels, including at the European level.

Seas At Risk is working to ensure that governments take marine litter seriously and commit to adopting the sorts of measures and actions that will be most effective in tackling the problem. See below for a range of information sources, Seas At Risk submissions and other useful links to find out more on European and International efforts to resolve this growing environmental, social and economic problem.


Seas At Risk's work

Single use plastic and the marine environment summary reportand Leverage points for reducing single use plastic, background research.

Marine Litter Manifesto for the European Seas (2013)

Open letter to EU environment ministers on 'Reducing marine litter under the MSFD: Let’s not waste the opportunity'

ENGO advice document on marine litter for public consultations on the MSFDENGO advice document on marine litter for public consultations on the MSFD

Manifesto for marine litter in the North East Atlantic

Input to European consultation on port reception facilities

Input to European Consultation on plastic bags

Brochure on ship waste dumping and marine litter

Ship waste dumping

The MSFD and marine litter

For information on the MSFD

Marine Strategy Directive

 

Marine Litter Technical Recommendations for the Implementation of MSFD Requirements (2011)

Marine litter in Europe

 

 
 

Marine litter in the Black Sea

Marine litter in the Mediterranean Sea

Marine litter globally

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