Today, the European Parliament (EP) voted in Plenary in Strasbourg on the Pietikainen report, a circular economy report calling on the European Commission to increase its headline marine litter reduction target from 30% to 50% reduction by 2025. The report sends a vital message to the European Commission and Europe as a whole that the European Parliament is in favour of the circular economy as a way to greater resource security, increased jobs and growth, and to tackle marine litter.
Last week, I was honored to represent Project AWARE at two different, yet complimentary, fora where the ocean future was at the heart of international exchanges on solutions to the many challenges our ocean is facing.
Did you know that a staggering 250 million metric tons of plastic could make its way to the ocean in the next 10 years? And that as much as 70 percent of marine litter has been estimated to end up on the seabed.
Marine debris comes from many land and ocean sources. Yet few of us understand that our trash can travel over land, down streams, rivers and storm drains to the ocean.
As the world population, economy and consumption grows, a complex and multi-dimensional approach is needed to manage a rising tide of solid waste, researchers say in a study published in the journal Waste Management.
The research is by Lilliana Abarca-Guerrero, now at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology, along with colleagues at the Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands and Linnaeus University, Sweden.
Large quantities of plastic debris are building up in the Mediterranean Sea, say scientists. A survey found around one thousand tonnes of plastic floating on the surface, mainly fragments of bottles, bags and wrappings.
The Mediterranean Sea's biological richness and economic importance means plastic pollution is particularly hazardous, say Spanish researchers.
Plastic has been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, turtles and whales.
The NOAA Marine Debris Program, in partnership with the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, published a report today that assesses the current state of science on “ghost fishing” and the derelict fishing gear that causes it.
Researchers in Australia have found that corals commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef will eat micro-plastic pollution.
"Corals are non-selective feeders and our results show that they can consume microplastics when the plastics are present in seawater," says Dr Mia Hoogenboom, a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.
"If microplastic pollution increases on the Great Barrier Reef, corals could be negatively affected as their tiny stomach-cavities become full of indigestible plastic," Dr Hoogenboom says.