Global Partnership on Marine Litter

News and Activities related to Marine Litter


Race for Water Odyssey Demonstrates Widespread Plastic Pollution

29 September 2015 (Stockholm) - On March 15th, 2015, the Race for Water Odyssey (R4WO) left Bordeaux, France, with a plan to travel over 40,000 nautical miles in 300 days, and return with the first assessment on global plastic pollution in the oceans.

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Alarming percentage of seabirds are gobbling plastic

26 August 2015 (Stockholm) - The ubiquitous existence of marine debris has increasingly threatened the world’s seabirds as plastic items are found in guts of the majority of seabird species such as albatross, petrels and penguins, a recent study published by scholars from CSIRO and Imperial College London said

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Global Concerns Are Growing as Great Barrier Reef Corals Found to Ingest Microplastics

14 August (Nairobi) - Many species of coral actively ingest a range of food, including bacteria and plankton. Coral was however found to be ingesting not only these sources of food, but also microplastics, in a recent study published in Marine Biology.

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Bad News: Zooplankton Are Munching on Microplastics

14 August (Nairobi) - A recent study published in Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, has found zooplankton to ingest microplastics, which they mistake for food. Global concerns over the impacts of microplastics as a pollutant have emerged in recent years as concentrations of these plastics have risen in the ocean.

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The Race for Water Odyssey Visits Japan

24 July 2015 (Tokyo) - The Race for Water Odyssey (R4WO) expedition made a port call in Tokyo, Japan. R4WO is a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) supported expedition that aims to visit islands located in all 5 ocean gyres where marine litter has accumulated. The outcome of these visits will be a global assessment on the state of marine litter in these gyres.

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GRID-Arendal to produce Vital Graphics on marine litter

09 July 2015 (Norway) - The GPA will be collaborating with GRID-Arendal in order to create a Vital Graphic on marine litter. This publication will be used to communicate science and policy relating to marine litter without complexity, as well as raise awareness on the human health, environmental, and socioeconomic impacts it presents. It will be published by the end of 2015.

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The European Parliament Hosted a Conference on Marine Litter

01 July 2015 (Brussels, Belgium) - The European Parliament hosted “Marine Litter Impact on Oceanic Ecosystems: Problems and solutions,” a conference addressing the growing global problem of marine litter. This event was attended by representatives from organisations such as the UNEP, the European Commission, and NGOs that are concerned with the impacts presented by marine litter.

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The 4th annual Plasticity Forum took place in Portugal

14 June (Portugual) - The 4th annual Plasticity Forum took place in Cascais, Portugal on June 8-9. This forum, organized by the Ocean Recovery Alliance, brings together stakeholders within the plastics industry, including, but not limited to, industry representatives, businesses, sustainability experts, and plastics producers.

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Marine litter and the GPA feature at the G7 Summit

09 June 2015 (Nairobi) - UNEP’s Executive Director’s, Achim Steiner has expressed his satisfaction with the Communiqué from the G7 Summit and the extent to which it highlighted UNEP’s work. Of note was the focus placed on marine litter and the GPA.

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Musician and Environmentalist Jack Johnson Designated UNEP Goodwill Ambassador

08 June 2015 (Nairobi) - Jack Johnson, the multi-platinum recording artist, widely acclaimed for his environmental work, was appointed UNEP Goodwill Ambassador today, during a ceremony on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. He will be supporting the work of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter.

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Plastics in Cosmetics: Are we polluting the environment with our personal care products?

08 June 2015 (Washington, DC) - More than 299 million tonnes of plastic was produced worldwide in 2013 some of which made its way to our oceans, costing approximately US$13 billion per year in environmental damage to marine ecosystems.

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Experts Meet in Rome to Lay the Foundation for a Global Study on Marine Plastics Debris and Microplastics

19 May 2015 (Nairobi) - International experts gathered in Rome for a workshop hosted by FAO on April 20-22 to kick off the implementation of a global study on marine plastics debris and microplastics to be produced for the Second Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in May 2016.

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Plastics Choking Animals Targeted in G-7 Clean-Ocean Push

27 April 2015 (Germany) - The biggest advanced economies plan to urge the world to clean up plastic shopping bags and bottles clogging oceans, prodded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Read the Bloomberg article »

Southeast Pacific Coastal Communities Take Action to Tackle Marine Litter

27 April 2015 (Southeast Pacific) - As part of the implementation of the Regional Programme on Marine Litter in the Southeast Pacific, participative municipal action plans on marine litter were elaborated in five coastal communities of Southeast Pacific countries

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Watch the French Documentary "Le huitième continent"

15 April 2015 (France) - Watch the 2012 AFP documentary about the "eighth continent", an area of ​​approximately 3.4 million km2 populated by all kinds of waste produced by human activity and plastic microparticles.

Watch the documentary (French) »

Race for Water Odyssey, UNEP Event Spotlights Marine Litter

09 April 2015 (New-York) - The event aimed at raising awareness on the global marine litter challenge, discussing potential activities to tackle the marine litter challenge as well as showcasing first implementation activities of UNEA resolution 1/6 on marine plastic debris and microplastics.

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The Swiss Expedition “Race for Water Odyssey” Reaches New York

09 April 2015 (New-York) - The crew members will be in the Big Apple until April 15, participating in numerous outreach events including two United Nations (UN) conferences organized by the UNEP about the issue of plastic litter.

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The 'National Forum - A Sea Without Litter' will take place on April 1st

23 March 2015 (Nairobi) - On Wednesday, April 1st , 'Kust & Zee' will organize an interactive live broadcast of the event : "A Sea without Litter". The event will gather government experts, scientists and representative from the plastic industry to discuss how to tackle the 'plastic soup' in the sea and on the beaches.

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New Study Quantifies the Amount of Debris Entering Our Oceans

9 February 2015 (Washington, D.C.) - Some eight million metric tons of plastic waste finds its way into the world’s oceans each year, and the quantity of debris is likely to increase significantly over the next decade unless nations take decisive measures manage their trash responsibly, new research suggests.

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Dutch Rally Support for a Europe Wide Microplastic Ban

15 January 2015 (Netherlands) - The Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium and Sweden have issued a joint call to ban the microplastics used in personal care products, saying the measure will protect marine ecosystems – and seafood such as mussels – from contamination.

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Our Oceans Awash in Toxic Plastic Garbage

12 December 2014 (USA) - Scientists published a paper with the first-ever estimate of all the plastic garbage floating in the world's oceans: more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic debris, weighting 269,000 tons.

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Mitt I Naturen - Marine Litter

4 December 2014 (Sweden) - The world's oceans are home to a variety of animals and plants. It has also become a garbage dump. Over 20 000 tons of garbage are being dumped every year in the North Sea alone. This Swedish documentary is raising awareness about the impacts of marine litter on the ocean.

Watch the video (in Swedish) »

Trash Free Waters

17 November 2014 (Sydney) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Trash Free Waters (TFW) program is striving to develop a focused set of actions and projects that significantly reduce or even eliminate the volume of trash and litter entering watersheds, aquatic ecosystems, and the marine environment.

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Pollution in the World’s Oceans Threatens Millions of Marine Animals

5 November 2014 (Quito) - A series of reports on the impact of marine debris on migratory marine species and ways to address this growing threat, are being presented at a major international wildlife conference taking place in Quito, Ecuador this week.

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Strategies to tackle Plastics Pollution to be Included in Plan to Manage the World's Seas

1 October 2014 (Athens) - The 16th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (RSCAPs) took place in Athens, Greece, from 29 September to 1 October 2014. One session was allocated to the GPML.

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Swimming Through Garbages

28 September 2014 (Cape Town) - Renowned endurance swimmer and United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh has become the first person to swim the Seven Seas. Read Lewis Pugh's Op-Ed in the New York Times.

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The Last Straw – Preventing our Oceans from becoming Dumps

2 September 2014 (Samoa) - The side event held during the UN Conference on SIDS presented the activities undertaken by SIDS to reduce and manage waste entering the marine environment from land- and sea-based sources.

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UN Environment Assembly Calls for Strengthened Action on Marine Litter

1 August 2014 (Nairobi, Kenya) - The resolution called for the strengthening of information exchange mechanisms, requesting UNEP to present scientific assessments on microplastics for consideration by the next session of the Assembly.

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EEA Releases Mobile Phone Application to Track Marine Litter

3 March 2014 (Denmark) - The European Environment Agency (EEA) has launched a mobile phone called Marine Litter Watch, it can be used to upload data on litter found on the beach or from area clean-ups. The goal is to fill data gaps on beach marine litter to support a policy response.

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New smartphone app will help consumers ‘beat the microbead’

January 2014 (Netherlands) - Dutch NGOs Plastic Soup Foundation and North Sea Foundation have launched a new smartphone app called Beat the Microbead that will allow consumers to find out whether or not a product contains plastic microbeads by simply scanning its barcode. UNEP is supporting this initiative through the GPML.

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