Introduction

The GEO Blue Planet Working Group on Marine Debris consists of a core group of working members that identify and guide priority activities, namely the IEEE OES Plastics in the Ocean Initiative and the white paper titled 'Global Platform for Monitoring Marine Litter and Informing Action.' Primarily guided by 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," this working group's primary goal is to identify and monitor marine debris, and brainstorm and assess ideas for these observation and detection methods. 

Name Affiliation
Hans-Peter Plag Old Dominion University (ODU) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), USA
Rene Garello Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), France
Emily Smail National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and University of Maryland, USA
Samy Djavidnia European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), Portugal
Eric Chassignet Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, Florida State University, USA

IEEE OES Plastics in the Ocean 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 to for a set of indicators. To achieve this, a working group led by OES in collaboration with the UN Environment and the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) initiative “Blue Planet“ will organize participatory workshops and utilize a collaborative platform for thematic deliberations.

The OES Technology Committees “Ocean Observation Systems and Environmental Sustainability&rdqo; and “Ocean Remote Sensing” are supporting this initiative:

  • The initiative has already proposed a topic for the OCEANS flagship conference;
  • Specific workshops will also enable us to reach across all the parties involved in the general research and development linked to the “plastic in the oceans” problem.

The initiative will directly link to governmental actions to address the challenge. At a political level there are some legislation available for instance the European Strategy for Plastics, or the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). 

Workspace

The Initiative provides a collaborative online platform for activities around plastics in the ocean and other marine debris. Participation in the workspace is open to all interested participants

Workshops

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 marine litter which is informed by SDG indicator 14.1.1b, “marine litter.”

At the request of the Untied Nations Environment Programme, the GEO Blue Planet Initiative has produced a draft discussion paper on the development of a global platform for marine litter. 

Peer review of the paper is requested.