On 13 September the European Parliament voted in favour of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, proposed by the European Commission in January 2018. Seas At Risk welcomes the Parliament’s endorsement of the Strategy. This vote shows that the European institutions acknowledge the need for Europe to change the ways it produces and uses plastic, and are in favour of moving towards the circular economy model.

On 29 August, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI) gave its views on the Commission’s proposal on a Single-use Plastics Directive. The majority of MEPs in ENVI are seeking more ambitious measures to reduce plastic pollution than those proposed by the European Commission.

The European Environment Agency is encouraging citizens to get involved in its Marine Litter Watch Month from 17 September to 16 October 2018. The project aims to combat plastic litter, using citizen science (scientific research partly conducted by members of the public) and mobile phone technology to help individuals and communities to build a compelling case to clean up Europe’s beaches.

During the summer months, Belgian authorities conducted a public consultation on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the mining equipment test due to be undertaken in the Pacific Ocean by Belgian company, Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR). Seas At Risk asks the Belgian government and the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to address the many shortcomings in the EIA and monitoring procedures, and to refuse permission for the test in light of the risk of significant irreversible impacts.

Brussels, Wednesday 1 August 2018 – The European Commission today stated that the goal of biologically diverse, clean and healthy seas by 2020 is unlikely to be achieved through the measures put in place by Member States under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

For two weeks in July the International Seabed Authority (ISA) held its annual session in in Kingston, Jamaica. The Council and Legal and Technical Commission met first, before 168 member countries gathered for a week-long Assembly meeting. They discussed draft exploitation regulations, methods to calculate financial payment systems and benefit-sharing, and the 2019-2023 strategic plan, among others. The request by Seas At Risk and 50 other NGOs to discuss whether or not there is an objective need for deep sea mining was omitted entirely.

The European Parliament's Environment Committee today voted to strengthen the European Commission’s Plastics Strategy, which aims to reduce plastic pollution and marine litter.

As European political parties prepare for the 2019 elections to the European Parliament, Seas At Risk publishes its ‘Manifesto for the sea, calling on politicians to put the protection of seas and oceans high on their election programmes.

The deep sea is one of Earth’s most precious ecosystems, with a vital role to play in the health of our planet, yet we are squandering it for an outdated drive towards boundless growth. This is the stark warning from Seas At Risk, together with 50 NGOs from across the globe, to the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

On 5 June, the Belgian Ministries of Economics and Environment organised an international stakeholder workshop to discuss Belgium’s position on deep-sea mining. Belgium is currently in the spotlight of international deep-sea mining development, as a sponsoring state to an exploration contract signed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in 2013 with the Belgian company Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR). The contract is for the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, an area more than twice the size of Belgium.