B.5.1 Plastic materials in the marine environment
Action Theme: Theme B: Actions to reduce sea-based sources of marine litter
Action number: B.5.1
Action Title: Plastic materials in the marine environment
Lead Party(ies): United Kingdom through OSPAR's Offshore Industry Committee (OIC)
What is the issue?
Manmade infrastructures such as pipelines, cables, structures placed on the seabed are normally protected for a number of reasons, including:
- from trawl boards
- from scour
- Crossings of the pipelines / cables
- foundation support
- to prevent buoyancy and provide stabilisation
Type of protection materials include placement of:
- sand, rock or gravel
- concrete mattress
- sand or grout bags
Sand or grout bags are typically contained in either 25 kg polypropylene sacks or 1 tonne polypropylene sacks. Concrete mattresses are often held together by polypropylene ropes.
Protection materials such as sand/grout bags and concrete mattress are meant to be removed at end of life of the infrastructure which could be 10 to 25 years from placement. Due to the time span, the plastic materials contained in these materials deteriorate and eventually disintegrate. The purpose of the objective is to phase out the placement of infrastructure protection materials that contain plastics.
What has OSPAR done?
OSPAR will establish and report on the source and extent of the use of plastic in materials placed in the marine environment for protecting offshore oil and gas infrastructure and, where appropriate, develop measures to control or phase out plastic from materials placed at sea for the purpose of protecting marine infrastructure.
Final outputs and published reports
The OIC will Report on sources of plastic materials in the marine environment from offshore oil and gas activities, extent of its use and suitable alternatives, with a view to consider a measure for the phase out of the placement of plastic materials in the marine environment.