Marine litter may seriously damage the environment as well as human health. The majority of litter are nondegradable items – mainly plastics – which are deliberately discarded or accidentally lost. Small organisms living in the sea often mistake the tiny, possibly toxic particles of plastic litter for food and eat them. These microplastic pieces may then transfer along the food chain to other marine animals.
The sources of litter in the Baltic Sea are many. Household waste – through sewage but also dumping – plays a prominent part, while shipping, fisheries and industries also have a considerable share in creation of the problem.
HELCOM Regional Action Plan for Marine Litter now sets the standard for each HELCOM member country – all nine coastal states – to put the agreed commitments into action.
Importantly, the action plan will make a difference only if many actors contribute to its implementation. While the major responsibility stays with the regional and upstream governments, all are invited – and needed – to cooperate with HELCOM for minimizing the effects of marine litter.
Within HELCOM, Pressure Working Group coordinates regional implementation of the marine litter action plan and follows up the progress.
For more information, please visit www.helcom.fi.download the action plan
- Title: Marine Litter in the Baltic Sea (HELCOM)
- Date: 30 Mar 2017