Plastic Pollution of Oceans and Environments – A Burning Platform

Today the ‘plastification’ of our oceans and our environments has finally reached the attention of the global community. Following the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.

See our collection of interesting links addressing our challenges:

The Ocean Cleanup Project (NGO): https://www.theoceancleanup.com/updates/
Plastic Oceans Facts (NGO): http://www.plasticoceans.org/the-facts/
Fortune (Magazine / Article): http://fortune.com/2015/10/01/ocean-plastic-pollution/
CNN (News Channel / Article): http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/30/world/plastic-plague-oceans/
The Guardian (Newspaper / Article): https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/19/more-plastic-than-fish-in-the-sea-by-2050-warns-ellen-macarthur
European Commission (Facts site): http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/plastic_waste.htm
European Commission (Green Paper): http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/studies/pdf/green_paper_plastic.pdf
Plastic News Europe (Digital Magazine): http://www.plasticsnewseurope.com/article/20170315/PNE/170319952/european-parliament-votes-for-higher-recycling-rates#email_pneweekly
European Commission (Article): http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/content/eu-and-us-tackling-plastic-pollution-ocean_da
Science Direct (Digital Magazine): http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969716310154
Plastic Pollution (NGO / Facts): http://plastic-pollution.org/
Ocean Health Index (NGO / Facts): http://www.oceanhealthindex.org/methodology/components/trash-pollution
Nature.com – International Weekly Journal of Science (Article): http://www.nature.com/news/bottles-bags-ropes-and-toothbrushes-the-struggle-to-track-ocean-plastics-1.20432
Teach The Earth (Web Magazine / Article): http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/plastics.html
ECO Watch (NGO / article): http://www.ecowatch.com/these-5-countries-account-for-60-of-plastic-pollution-in-oceans-1882107531.html
European Commission (Technical Report – Harm caused by Marine Litter): http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC104308/lbna28317enn.pdf
Clean Water Action (NGO / Article):   http://www.cleanwater.org/problem-marine-plastic-pollution
Livestrong Foundation (NGO / Article): http://www.livestrong.com/article/181103-the-effect-of-recycling-plastic-water-bottles-on-the-environment/
DR News: https://www.dr.dk/ligetil/i-2050-vil-plastik-fylde-mere-end-fisk-i-verdenshavene
Business Insider Nordic (Web Magazine / Article): http://nordic.businessinsider.com/plastic-in-ocean-outweighs-fish-evidence-report-2017-1?r=US&IR=T
Waste Free Oceans (NGO / Ocean Bullitin – March 22, 2017): https://www.wastefreeoceans.org/single-post/2017/03/22/Ocean-Bulletin-March-edition
CNN (News): http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2016/12/world/midway-plastic-island/
United Nations (News Centre): United Nations News Centre – New UN report finds marine debris harming more than 800 species, costing countries millions

During the G7 June 2015 meeting in Germany, ‘(marine) litter’ was confirmed as one of the emerging priority issues together with CO2 emission savings. Hence, from a political perspective littering and poorwaste management have reached the highest level of attention.

Both priority issues can – to a great extent – be tackled already today by investing in more and better waste collection and sorting as close as possible to the sources to enable high quality recycling and safeguard resources. Mechanical recycling of plastics has proven to be an important source of CO2 emissions savings, as it makes it possible to replace virgin plastic material with recycled plastic.

Marine litter consists of many different products and substances, including all types of materials. In the media, however, the main focus is on plastics, as plastics represent a high percentage of the waste encountered on beaches, as floating debris in the water, in the water column and on seabeds. Plastic marine litter is found in places quite remote from human activities from the island of Midway and all the way to Antarctica. All waste comes from land, and the ultimate goal is to stop the inflow of waste into the (marine) environment and find solutions to better deal with the waste challenge.

Abandoned, Lost or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG), often referred to as ‘ ghost nets’, constitute a significant waste problem in the international marine environment.

Climate change and waste issues have more in common than you would expect at first glance. Due to limited support of the Kyoto Protocol and lack of consensus in Copenhagen in 2009, the EU has been building a broad coalition of high-ambition countries that finally shaped the successful outcome of the Paris conference.