Tough EU action on Marine Litter

Seas at Risk is an international network which advocates environmentally sound policies at European and International level.

The marine environment has become engulfed in marine litter, severely impacting marine species and habitats, causing harm to maritime activities, the tourism industry and reducing the possibilities of recreational use. The project aims to influence the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) process, the only European legislative instrument designed to protect the marine environment and reduce marine litter. SAR will ensure policy makers are fully aware of the need for action at national, regional and international level and provide them with the necessary tools to ensure that appropriate action is taken in respect of land and ship source litter. The next 2 years are particularly important with Member States obliged to set marine litter targets for 2020 (by July 2012) and agree a draft set of measures aiming to achieve the agreed targets by 2014.

The Update

SAR submitted their final report to us in the first quarter of 2015.  They reported that ” When this project began, marine litter was rarely discussed in political circles, and awareness with the public existed but was limited.  For the duration of the project, the profile of the topic has grown significantly, to the point where it is now regularly mentioned in speeches by top politicians, and often used as justification for tough environmental measures…….Although change is slow, we can safely conclude that this project has ensured that the problem of marine litter has been kept at the forefront of policy maker’s discussions, and has exerted influence over numerous policies to ensure tough EU action on marine litter.”

Image: The result of plastic in our oceans