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Marine litter   Seas At Risk News Item

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

Marine Litter Manifesto for the European Seas (2013)
view pdf | download pdf  

Open letter to EU environment ministers on 'Reducing marine litter under the MSFD: Let’s not waste the opportunity'
view pdf | download pdf  
ENGO advice document on marine litter for public consultations on the MSFD
view pdf | download pdf  
Manifesto for marine litter in the North East Atlantic
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Input to European consultation on port reception facilities
click here
Input to European Consultation on plastic bags
click here
Brochure on ship waste dumping and marine litter
click here
Ship waste dumping
click here

The MSFD and marine litter
For information on the MSFD
Marine Strategy Directive
MSFD report on Marine litter (2010)
view pdf | download pdf  
Marine Litter Technical Recommendations for the Implementation of MSFD Requirements (2011)
click here

Marine litter in Europe
Marine litter in the North East Atlantic
view pdf | download pdf  
Marine litter in the Baltic Sea
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Marine litter in the Black Sea
click here
Marine litter in the Mediterranean Sea
click here

Marine litter globally
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