Oceans governance and plastics

Fact Sheet

Climate & Energy

A review of the marine plastic landscape

For scientists, it is becoming extremely clear and increasingly alarming that world’s oceans are reaching their tipping point within the natural system, mainly as a result of the global plastic pollution crisis. For all the services they offer as climate regulators, carbon sinks, food providers and more, oceans deserve to be kept healthy and remain as the blue lungs of the planet.

Over the past few years, both political and public concern about the state of our oceans and marine pollution has increased, reaching a level of worry comparable to that of climate change as an environmental issue. The link between oceans and climate change is indeed one worth highlighting: as climate changes, so do oceans.

This factsheet takes a hard look at the current state of our oceans. From 500,000 tonnes of plastics reaching oceans annually in Europe, and millions worldwide, to 90% of all seabirds having pieces of plastic in their stomachs, strategic decisions and commitments, such as the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy and upcoming European Waste Package, are needed to harness global actions for oceans.
The key recommendations of the factsheet include strengthening the role of cities and nations in addressing the issue of ocean health; involving the corporate sector; and highlighting the role of citizens as consumers to take responsibility of their consumption patterns and behaviours harming world’s oceans.

 

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