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.
The European Commission aims to develop EU-wide reduction target for marine litter. This public consultation is an integral part of EU’s long-term commitment to develop, implement and enforce policies aimed at tackling marine litter sources and impacts.
One of the key policy initiatives that has been in development for several years is the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) which establishes a structure within which Member States have to take measures to maintain or achieve ‘good environmental status’ (GES) in the marine environment by 2020, including reducing marine litter. The development of a reduction target is one of many complementary activities undertaken at the EU level to tackle the problem.
For this consultation, the Commissions is particularly interested in input from representatives of the waste management, plastic producers and recyclers, fisheries and shipping sectors as well as nongovernmental organizations. Our AWARE team looks forward to providing an organizational response sharing our common, underwater perspective on the problem but your input as a EU citizen and an individual diver adds the citizen perspective rarely heard but deeply valued by your EU representatives. To have your say:
- Read the Public Consultation Background Document for guidance
- Complete the questionnaire. You will be asked to assess various actions aimed at reducing the presence and impacts of marine litter on a scale of 1 to 5. Only a few questions are compulsory so please feel free to answer only those relevant to you.
Project AWARE is encouraged by the EU’s focus on seeking effective measures to tackle the debris problem in our communities, large and small. Add your individual diver’s voice to the search for solutions. The consultation is open until 18 December 2013.
Photo © Eric Dehasque, entangled ray Spain