​The first HELCOM marine litter workshop begins today by discussing on the best way forward to develop Regional Action Plan for the Baltic, as litter dominated by plastics of all sizes is a rapidly growing concern at sea and shores alike. The Regional Action Plan on marine litter will fulfil the 2013 HELCOM Ministerial commitment, expecting adoption in 2015, with the aim of achieving a significant reduction of marine litter by 2025 and to prevent harm to the coastal and marine environment.

 

Consumer behaviour is considered as the most important reason for marine litter in the Baltic Sea, indicate recent studies by e.g. by the Marlin Project and ARCADIS. Moreover, as much as 48 per cent of marine litter originates from household‐related waste, including sanitary waste, while waste generated by recreational or tourism activities would add up to 33 per cent. The urgent need of a comprehensive action plan to address the issue is further supported by the Marlin study results stating that, in average, close to 240 items of litter were detected per every 100 meters in urban beaches of Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Sweden. Plastic never biodegrades, but with the sunlight it splits into smaller pieces – also into tiny microplastics that are ingested by a few marine species thus entering the food chain.

Following the thematic session on marine litter that took place last month in Oslo as part of the HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment Group (MONAS) Meeting, the 2-day HELCOM workshop will focus on the development of the structure of the Regional Action Plan. Measures to reduce the input of marine litter to the Baltic Sea area will be discussed, both from land based and sea based sources, also giving space to education and outreach measures.

This is the first of the two workshops on marine litter aiming to draft the Regional Action Plan on marine litter, the second one taking place in October, in Germany.

 

The workshop will be led by Ms. Stefanie Werner, Federal Environment Agency, Germany.

Marine litter workshop site  (documents will be public after the meeting ends)


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Note for editors:

The Monitoring and Assessment Group (HELCOM MONAS) looks after one of HELCOM's key tasks by assessing trends in threats to the marine environment, their impacts, the resulting state of the marine environment, and the effectiveness of adopted measures. This work forms the basis for the work of HELCOM's other main groups, and helps to define the need for additional measures.

 

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organisation of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the 'Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area', more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention.

 

For more information, please contact:

Ulla Li Zweifel
Professional Secretary - GEAR, HABITAT & MONAS
HELCOM
Tel. +358 46 850 9198 
Skype: helcom64
E-mail: ullali.zweifel(@)helcom.fi

Johanna Laurila
Information Secretary
HELCOM
Tel: +358 40 523 8988
E-mail: johanna.laurila(@)helcom.fi