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, 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.

Waste ends up in the oceans through a complex web of sources, but the root cause is our society’s over consumption of resources and the irresponsible disposal of the products of our consumption.

Single-use items are consistently in the top ten litter items found during beach monitoring exercises. Most of these things are used for seconds before being thrown away. This unnecessary waste must be stopped, and the European Union has the power to do this. This year, the Commission will release its circular economy package, and will reform the main directives governing waste, recycling and waste disposal. This is a key opportunity to tackle marine litter, and Seas at Risk will be working to ensure that the environmental effects of poor waste management are the driving force behind strong and ambitious measures to move towards resource efficiency.

This Saturday, citizens across Europe will be mobilizing for Let’s Clean up Europe day, to clean up the mess we have created in our parks, streets, waterways and beaches. However, this is not merely about cleaning up. Prevention must be the key message, to stop waste from reaching the environment in the first place. Waste can be a valuable resource, and currently Europe is sending 50% of straight to landfill or incineration. By keeping waste in the material cycle, and recognizing its intrinsic value, we would not only reduce the input of marine litter to our oceans, we could create 860 000 jobs, and make the European economy more resilient to resources shortages and price increases.

Seas at Risk has teamed up with a group of NGOs working on a variety of waste issues, to create a set of key demands on what we would like to see included in the review of the Waste Framework Directive, the Landfill and Packaging Directives. We hope that this will signal to policy makers and citizens the actions desperately needed to bring waste full circle.

More information

How to improve EU legislation to tackle marine litter 

Clean Up Europe Day, 10 May 2014

Bring Waste Full Circle: How to implement the circular economy

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