Introduction

Marine litter is defined as “any persistent, manufactured or processed solid material discarded, disposed of or abandoned in the marine and coastal environment”. From microplastics to derelict fishing gear, its various forms and sizes are found from coastal shores to the depths of the oceans, and even in remote areas far from human contact. Marine litter has become a multi-dimensional problem with economic, environmental, cultural, and human health costs. To address this issue, the United Nations created Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, "Life Below Water" and Target 14.1: "by 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution". Achieving this target requires the identification of marine litter and assessment of marine litter observation and detection methods to inform policy.

Objectives

  • Work with stakeholders at the global, regional and local scales to identify data and information gaps; 
  • Provide networking and coordination support to connect the marine litter community;
  • Identify best practices in marine litter related ocean observations to inform policy recommendations and to measure the impact of mitigation strategies;
  • Support UN Environment, international, regional organisations and Member States in the monitoring and reporting of SDG 14.1.
Name Affiliation
Eric Chassignet Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, Florida State University, USA
Giovanni Coppin Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, Italy
Samy Djavidnia European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), Portugal
Francois Galgani Institut Français de Recherche pour l'exploitation de la Mer, France
René Garello Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), France
Nikolai Maximenko University of Hawaii
Jose Moutinho Atlantic International Research Centre
Frank Muller-Karger University of South Florida, USA
Hans-Peter Plag Old Dominion University (ODU) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), USA
Kostas Topouzelis University of the Aegean, Greece
Francesca Verones Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Rene Garello Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), France

Proposed Activities for 2020 - 2022: 

Identifying data and information gaps 

  • Life cycle assessments - Life cycle assessments are important for developing and monitoring the impact of marine litter mitigation policies. In order to effectively conduct a life cycle assessment, the data that is required for such assessments needs to be identified. The working group will identify priority areas for life cycle assessments (such as certain types of plastics) and identify the data that would be required to conduct such assessments
  • Impacts on life - The impact of marine litter is not yet well understood. This is a limiting factor to the development of policies to reduce marine litter. This working group will work with decision makers to understand the questions about impacts on life they are most interested in and translate that information into a set of data and information requirements for the observation of marine litter impacts on life.

Best practices

  • Marine litter modeling community consensus - The creation of a consensus document from the marine litter modeling community to review current modeling capabilities, identify weaknesses, and create a path forward.
  • Remote sensing and new technologies - The creation of a consensus document from the marine litter remote sensing community to review current modeling capabilities, identify weaknesses, and create a path forward.

Networking and coordination

  • Registry of marine litter monitoring and modeling experts -Create an online registry for experts working in the monitoring and modeling of marine litter
  • IEEE OES Plastics in the Oceans Initiative - The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Oceanic Engineering Society (IEEE OES) Initiative aims to develop a metric for assessing the different approaches to the observation and detection of plastics required for a set of indicators. The initiative will directly link to governmental actions to address the challenge. To achieve this, a working group led by OES in collaboration with the UN Environment and the GEO Blue Planet Initiative organizes participatory workshops and utilizes a collaborative platform for thematic deliberation.

Workshops

Projects

 

Global Platform for Monitoring Marine Litter and Informing Action

      The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals includes a goal (SDG 14 – Life Below Water) to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. SDG 14 Target 14.1 “by 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds (…)” provides a deadline for progress on reducing […]