Marine microplastics: IEEP contributes to report leading to UN Environment Assembly resolution

AUTHORS: Patrick ten Brink – Emma Watkins

IEEP contributed to a major 2016 report leading to a UN Environment Assembly Resolution calling for global action on marine plastic litter and microplastics. The report was drafted by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) – a body which advises United Nations agencies on measures to protect the marine environment.

The report – ‘Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment: part two of a global assessment’ – was prepared for the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), held in Nairobi (Kenya) in May 2016. In collaboration with other experts, IEEP’s Patrick ten Brink and Emma Watkins drafted Chapter 6 on the socio-economic aspects of marine litter. Other chapters explore the sources of microplastics, their distribution in the oceans, and their impacts on the environment, fish and shellfish.

Following consideration of the reports, the UN Environment Assembly adopted Resolution 2/11 on Marine plastic litter and microplastics. The Resolution calls for urgent global action, including prevention and proper management of waste, addressing litter ‘pathways’ such as rivers and sewage systems, educational and capacity building activities, and partnerships between governments, industry and civil society.

A full IEEP report on the socio-economics of marine litter will be published soon by UNEP and made available on IEEP’s website.

For more details on IEEP’s work on marine litter and microplastics, please contact Emma WatkinsPatrick ten Brink or Jean-Pierre Schweitzer.

The GESAMP report can be downloaded below and found on the GESAMP website.

UNEA Resolution 2/11 on Marine plastic litter and microplastics can be found on the UNEA website.

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