A.2.1 Prevent the release of bio-carriers to the marine and riverine environment
Action Theme: Theme A: Actions to reduce land-based sources of marine litter
Action number: A.2.1
Action Title: Prevent the release of bio-carriers to the marine and riverine environment
Lead Party(ies): Sweden and France with support from Surfrider
Image: ©Kusträddarna Louise Johansson
What is the issue?
Bio-carriers are small plastic washers from 1 to 5 centimetres in diameter. They can be of different size, shape and colour. They are used in wastewater treatment facilities and other industrial treatment facilities for example fish farms, food or papermaking industries, where they separate biological waste or remove nitrogen compounds from water without requiring the addition of chemicals.
Due to unintentional leakages bio-carriers end up in the aquatic environment and coastlines, where they contribute to plastic pollution. Because of their functionality, bio-carriers can easily travel long distances and once in the environment they are difficult to remove. There are quite simple management measures that can be implemented to prevent releases; however, the problem and the solutions need to be highlighted to the industry and policy makers/authorities.
What has OSPAR done?
OSPAR will promote measures preventing the release of bio-carriers into the marine and riverine environment by addressing wastewater treatment facilities and other industrial treatment facilities using bio-carriers. Where necessary, OSPAR will consider the need for additional measures to prevent releases of biocarriers into the marine environment.
Final outputs and published reports
This action area is expected to deliver two OSPAR briefs on the problem and available management measures (one directed at industry, one directed at policymakers) with a view to raise awareness. (expected 2023)
An OSPAR measure will be proposed, if appropriate