The Scottish Government has announced that it has launched a new strategy to tackle marine litter.
The aim of the strategy, entitled 'Marine Litter Strategy for Scotland', is to develop current and future measures to ensure that the amount of litter entering the marine and coastal environment is minimised to bring ecological, economic and social benefits.
At a cost of £16.8m each year to clean up, the strategy reveals that the majority of the litter found on Scotland's beaches and in the seas around it is plastic.
Every year, millions of tonnes of litter end up in Europe's streets, oceans, beaches, forests and natural areas. And every year millions of Europeans get out in their neighborhoods to clean up in voluntary actions. "Let's Clean up Europe" is an initiative that aims to encourage more such actions, to raise awareness about the scale of the litter and waste problems, and to encourage changes in behaviour. The event is being coordinated by the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR).
Focused on solutions and collaboration to ensure Healthy Oceans and Productive Ecosystems for future generations, the HOPE Conference, on 3-4 March 2014 in Brussels, called for urgent action to better protect the ocean and, in particular, to combat the ever increasing amount of marine debris.
The Conference of Parties of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean on 6th of December adopted a regional plan to manage marine litter.
Following the adoption, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said: "I am very pleased to see the Mediterranean convention taking the problem of marine litter so seriously. This is an important step towards achieving the significant reductions in marine debris by 2025 that World Leaders promised at the Rio+20 summit last year. I hope that the other regional sea conventions will now take similar steps."
Rays trapped in lost fishing nets, floating plastic bags resembling jellyfish, glass bottles and tyres covering the ocean floor are all too common a sight for scuba divers who are the first to see how devastating marine litter is underwater. Many of us pick up trash every time we dive. We organize or participate in Dive Against Debris. And between now and December 18th, you have a unique opportunity to share your opinion on how the European Union (EU) can best tackle marine litter.
There is no easy way to tackle the issue of marine litter: it is complicated and has many causes, impacts and inputs. As a high percentage of marine litter comes from land based sources, EU legislation is possibly the best way to address the problem and look for solutions.
Are the planet’s oceans doomed to become its waste bin? Marine litter – plastics, wood, metal, rubber, paper and other debris – from human activity continues to invade and pollute oceans and seas, posing a serious threat to the coastal and marine environment worldwide.
Project AWARE together with other NGOs leading the fight against marine litter is calling on European countries to set a 50% reduction target in marine litter.
As part of a requirement to comply with the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) - a legislative initiative that uses an ecosystem approach to improve the management of human activities that affect marine environment including marine litter - European Union (EU) member states are required to finalise their marine environmental targets for 2020 by 15th July 2012.