Action Plan for Marine Litter

OSPAR’s strategic marine litter objective is to “Prevent inputs of and significantly reduce marine litter, including microplastics, in the marine environment to reach levels that do not cause adverse impacts to the marine and coastal environment with the ultimate aim of eliminating inputs of litter” . The North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy (2010 – 2020) committed OSPAR to “develop appropriate programmes and measures to reduce amounts of litter in the marine environment and to stop litter entering the marine environment, both from sea-based and land-based sources”.

To fulfil this objective OSPAR 2014 agreed a Regional Action Plan (RAP) for Marine Litter for the period 2014-2021. The RAP contains 23 national actions and 32 collective actions which aim to address both land based and sea based sources, as well as education and outreach and removal actions. Each of the actions is driven by specific Contracting Parties or groups of Contracting Parties, and progress on actions is assessed each year at the meeting of the Intersessional Correspondence Group on Marine Litter (ICG-ML).

Implementation of the 2014 RAP-ML was completed in June 2021. At that point OSPAR Contracting Parties had completed 25 out of the 32 collective actions; 3 were still in progress and 4 had been set aside. Recent OSPAR indicator assessments show some signs of reductions in marine litter levels but there is still a long way to go. OSPAR has published an extensive evaluation of the impacts and effectiveness of the 2014 RAP-ML

OSPAR is now working on a new RAP-ML, to be adopted in 2022.