HELCOM Ministerial declaration addresses marine litter

Last week the HELCOM Ministerial meeting took place in Copenhagen. The final declaration text can be found here:

http://www.helcom.fi/Documents/Ministerial2013/Ministerial%20declaration/2013%20Copenhagen%20Ministerial%20Declaration.pdf

The text addresses marine litter as if follows, recognizing the Technical Subgroup:

Declaration of the Ministers of the Environment of the Baltic Coastal Countries and the EU Environment Commissioner, HELCOM Copenhagen Declaration 2013

VIII. BEING SERIOUSLY CONCERNED about the growing evidence of harmful effects of marine litter on wildlife and habitats and on marine biodiversity and the environment with a dominance of plastics of different sizes (ranging from macro- to microparticles);

IX. WE AGREE to prevent and reduce marine litter from land- and sea-based sources, causing harmful impacts on coastal and marine habitats and species, and negative impacts on various economic sectors, such as fisheries, shipping or tourism, and to this end DECIDE to develop a regional action plan by 2015 at the latest with the aim of achieving a significant quantitative reduction of marine litter by 2025, compared to 2015, and to prevent harm to the coastal and marine environment;

Marine litter

24 (B). WE AGREE that the regional action plan on marine litter should allow to:

– carry out concrete measures for prevention and reduction of marine litter from its main sources with the aim of achieving significant quantitative reductions focusing inter alia on working with industry to reduce or phase out microbeads in certain products in the market

– develop and test technology for removal of microplastics and nanoparticles in municipal waste water treatment plants by 2020 and inter alia work with industry to ban the use of microplastics and on the assessment of the use of nanoparticles within the production process (e.g. in cosmetics);

– utilize existing networks to address marine litter issues;

– develop common indicators and associated targets related to quantities, composition, sources and pathway of marine litter, including riverine inputs, in order to gain information on long-term trends, and carry out the monitoring of the progress towards achieving the agreed goals and to gain an inventory of marine litter in the Baltic Sea as well as scientific sound evaluation of its sources. Where possible, the harmonized monitoring protocols based on the recommendations of the EU Technical Subgroup on Marine Litter will be used;

– identify the socio-economic and biological impacts of marine litter, also in terms of toxicity of litter;

– review regularly the effectiveness of the measures, for the first time by 2020;

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