PILOT PROJECT: REMOVAL OF MARINE LITTER FROM EUROPE'S FOUR REGIONAL SEAS
|Marine litter consists of items that have been made or used by people and deliberately discarded or unintentionally lost into the sea and on beaches, including such materials transported into the marine environment from land by rivers, draining or sewage systems or winds (Marine Strategy Framework Directive - Task Group 10, Report Marine litter, JRC/IFREMER/ICES, April 2010). It can be larger pieces of plastics, e.g. from bottles, bags or fishing gear or degraded to micro-particles.|
Facts and figures
- A recent study led by the Five Gyres Institute has estimated that more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250000 tons are floating in the world’s oceans.
- Marine litter is present in all marine habitats, including the deepest areas of ocean and in sites as remote from the land as the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, as suggests a study led by the University of Azores.
- 80% of marine litter comes from land. A recent study led by the University of Georgia estimated that in 2010, 275 million tons of plastic waste was generated by 192 coastal countries, with 4.8 to 12.7 million tons entering the ocean.
- Negative impacts of marine litter also relate to animal entaglement in plastic wires or net or to ingestion of plastic. A study led by IMARES showed that 94% of investigated Dutch Fulmars contained one or more plastic particles in their stomach; and about 52% contained more than the critical level of 0.1 gram plastic.
- It is estimated that 640.000 tons of fishing gear are lost, abandoned or discarded annually (Issue paper from the Berlin Conference on marine litter).
- Removing beach litter costs municipalities in UK approximately €18 million each year removing beach litter - a 37% increase in cost over the past 10 years and in the Netherlands and Belgium approximately €10.4 million per year (Issue paper from the Berlin Conference on marine litter).
Picture: Merili Pokasaar ©Keep the Estonian Sea Tidy