On October 12, 2018, the European Parliament (EP) published a headline article addressing marine litter, its overall impact, and measures aiming at reducing plastic pollution in the oceans. Lost fishing gear and the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on European coastlines account for 70% of marine litter. In total, it is estimated that 150 million metric tons of plastic are currently present in the oceans, with 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons additionally entering every year. Reducing these number could improve marine life, human health, economy, and climate. Prevention of single-use plastic was proposed as one important measure that can be achieved by a total ban of these items. Additionally, reducing the consumption of food and drink containers, obligations for producers to cover the costs for clean-ups, increasing collection rates, labelling requirements, and awareness raising could help to tackle the problem.

The new rules addressing these issues, i.e., EU directive on reducing marine litter (FPF reported), have been adopted by the Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee (ENVI) on October 10, 2018. Next, the draft directive will be discussed and voted on by the full EP plenary on October 22, 2018.

Read more

European Parliament (October 12, 2018). “Plastic in the ocean: the facts, effects and new EU rules.

European Parliament (October 10, 2018). “Plastic Oceans: MEPs back EU ban on polluting throwaway plastics by 2021.

Martin Banks (October 12, 2018). “MEPs back radical news rules to reduce plastic pollution in Europe.The Parliament Magazine

Stephanie Senet (October 15, 2018). “Banned plastics: European Parliament’s list grows longer.Euractiv

Martin Banks (October 15, 2018). “Civil society and tobacco industry give cautious welcome to new plans designed to reduce plastic pollution in Europe.The Parliament Magazine


European Parliament (2018). “Single-use plastics and fishing gear: Reducing marine litter from plastics.Legislative Train Schedule