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What Can a Policy Maker do About Marine Litter?


What Can a Policy Maker do About Marine Litter?

3 December 2015
The CleanSea Symposium was a milestone in the first EU FP7 interdisciplinary research project on Marine Litter, led by the Institute for Environemental Studies (IVM). Ecologic Institute was involved in the legal and economic work packages.

The CleanSea Marine Litter Symposium & Film Premiere was attended by well over 200 participants from science, policy, industry, civil society and the media in the largest cinema of EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam. The interdisciplinary research carried out in the European FP7 CleanSea Project for three years was presented by the work package leaders showing main results of the work of the teams. Susanne Altvater of the Ecologic Institute talked about what policy makers can do about marine litter. You can still catch the speeches and CleanSea film on YouTube. The CleanSea brochure provides a short overview of the main political results of the project and is available for download.

Afterwards, the CleanSea film was shown produced as part of the project. This 20-minute documentary film explores the problem of litter in our seas, as the interdisciplinary team sets out to think about the issue in ways that haven't been thought about before. They develop new sampling equipment and go to sea, they find out what happens when a miniature 'plastic-filled sea' is recreated in the lab, and they observe how nano-sized plastics interfere with sea urchin reproduction.

They learn about the astronomical social costs of marine litter and delve into the diverse ways our society can reduce marine litter via actions by government and the private sector. The team concludes that a combination of individual actions, technologies, voluntary measures, and government policies such as those promoting a 'circular economy' are all going to be important. But these activities are not going to be able to take root and grow in the absence of more transformative changes in our social, political and financial systems.

CleanSea also published a brochure to provide a short overview of the main political results of the project. The brochure is available in six languages.

The still unpublished final reports of the a) governance and b) economic work packages will be available soon on the CleanSea website:  
a)    Marine Litter Policy Options
b)    Policy brief – best practice examples of existing economic policy instruments and potential new economic policy instruments to reduce marine litter and eliminate barriers to GES.

The same is true for the CleanSea roadmap, the final key product of the project.