European Union increases commitment to reduce marine litter by 2025
The European Union is furthering its commitment to significantly reducing marine litter by 2025 by considering the issue in the European Environment Agency’s forthcoming assessment of the state of the marine environment. In 2014, the Agency will also launch ‘Marine LitterWatch’, a new mobile phone app for conservation groups and other citizen scientists to log and report the amount of litter they find on beaches. Read more...
Increasing quantities of litter are ending up in the world’s oceans, causing harm to ecosystems and killing fish, birds and other sea creatures. One of the biggest problems is the presence of plastics from consumer goods packaging such as bags, bottles, bottle tops and Styrofoam. Plastic does not biodegrade and, with the movement of the waves, only degrades into ever smaller pieces. Plastics can be lethal to sea creatures if swallowed and microplastics, which can accumulate persistent organic pollutants, can also pose a hazard to human health if they end up in the food chain.
World leaders at the 2012 Rio Earth Summit recognised the scale of the problem, committing to ‘a significant reduction in marine litter by 2025’. The EU is driving this forward though the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which aims to attain ‘good environmental status’ for oceans by 2020.
The European Environment Agency will address the issue of marine litter in its assessment of the state of the marine environment, which will be published in autumn 2014 alongside its new mobile phone app. The information and data gathered by conservation groups and others via the app will help the European Environment Agency understand the scale of the problem and support better policy implementation.
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