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Marine and Coastal

Extreme coastal water levels will increase considerably due to climate change, posing an increasing threat of coastal floods due to ‘overtopping’ — a cause of flooding

Climate change and anthropogenic pressures are widely expected to exacerbate hazards such as coastal flooding. One process that could contribute to this is overtopping which occurs when the extreme coastal water level exceeds the maximum elevation of the coastal system (such as dunes, dykes or cliffs). A new global analysis — using satellite-derived models of coastlines — estimates that under a high emissions scenario, the incidence of overtopping, globally, will accelerate faster than the global mean sea-level.<a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/569na6_en-1342_a-global-analysis-of-extreme-coastal-water-levels.pdf">Click here to read more</a>

 
Towards the global plastics agreement - stay of play

In response to the global problem of marine litter and plastic pollution, which is projected to triple by 2040, the Governments of Ecuador, Germany, Ghana and Vietnam will jointly organize a Ministerial Conference on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution, most likely on 1 Sep 2021. The objective is to adopt an ambitious Ministerial Declaration paving the way for the UNEA5 to adopt a negotiating mandate for a global plastics agreement in Feb 2022. The first pre-meeting to the Ministerial Conference on 27-28 May with more 500 participants including governments, NGO’s, industry showed broad support for launching the negotiations for a legally binding global agreement for plastics through a circular economy/life cycle approach. DG ENV is now working with the EEAS to prepare a targeted outreach in run up to UNEA 5.2. with the primary focus on like-minded (signatories to New York declaration) and open-minded countries (e.g. Indonesia, India, Malaysia, South Africa).

 
EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: where are we?

The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 contains over 100 actions to be implemented by 2030 by EU to halt and reverse the dramatic loss of biodiversity. 2021 will be a key year in implementing the Strategy, with over 40 deliverables including some key policy initiatives such as action plans and strategies on pollution, organic farming, forests, soils, fisheries resources and marine ecosystems, a new law on nature restoration, a new initiative on deforestation, and adoption of a new, ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework.

 
Biocide release from antifouling paints may be higher than reported, finds Swedish study

Researchers have evaluated the EU’s environmental risk assessment tool for antifouling paint used on leisure boats. Currently, product approval applications can report biocide release rates that have been ‘corrected’ to account for potential overestimation. However, field observations in Swedish waters suggest that these reductions are not accurate and — in order to protect marine ecosystems — should not be used. </br> </br> <b><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/560na1_en-biocide-release-from-antifouling-paints-may-be-higher-than-reported-finds-swedish-study.pdf">Click here to read more</a></b>

 
High levels of microplastic pollution found in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean deep sea

Marine plastic pollution has been found in the remote Antarctic peninsula and Southern Ocean since the 1980s, but microplastic pollution in this region is less well understood. To find out more about this emerging environmental hazard, scientists have analysed the deep-sea sediments of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean regions for the presence of microplastics. </br> </br> <b><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/558na4_en-high-levels-of-microplastic-pollution-found-in-the-antarctic-and-southern-ocean-deep-sea.pdf">Click here to read more</a></b>

 
Bioreactors and wetlands: two-step solutions could support lagoon recovery in Spain

The Mar Menor coastal saltwater lagoon, in south-east Spain, is the largest such water body in the Mediterranean basin. The lagoon is experiencing a ‘eutrophication crisis’ as excess nutrients — largely nitrates, but also phosphorus and dissolved organic carbon — are washed into the lagoon from its surroundings. A study explores the Mar Menor’s nutrient inputs and evaluates the results of a two-step system including a <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-innovation/research-area/environment/nature-based-solutions_en">nature-based solution (NBS)</a>; an initiative that works with and enhances nature to address societal challenges. </br> </br> <b><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/558na1_en-bioreactors-and-wetlands-two-step-solutions-could-support-lagoon-recovery-in-spain.pdf">Click here to read more</a></b>

 
Sea cucumbers eat different plastic microparticles due to local habitat features

The accumulation of plastics in the marine environment is an issue of great concern, with bottom-feeding species eating plastic microparticles (MPs) they find in the sediment of their habitats. To understand what influences the entry of MPs into the marine food web, a study took samples from the vicinity of two Croatian islands, exploring the impact of MPs on a marine species: the sea cucumber.