Life LEMA and European policies on the challenge of reducing marine litter

basura marina en las playas LEMA

Marine litter is considered as one of the 11 determining factors for achieving good environmental status in our seas by 2020.

At an international level, the General Assembly of the United Nations has acknowledged for the first time the issue of marine litter in its Oceans and the Law of the Sea Resolution of 2005. In it, the Assembly encourages decisions-making on the new challenge derived from the consumption model. The worldwide action plan started to take form only in 2011 with the Honolulu strategy, a global document elaborated during the 5th International Conference on Marine Litter, which has the objective to avoid, reduce and manage marine litter.

In the last years, numerous international reports have been written on specific themes, like the specific study of microplastics in the marine environment that was produced by a group of experts on scientific aspects of the marine environment’s protection (GESAMP, 2015) of the United Nations. Another example is the study of the impact of microplastic on the species of fish destined to human consumption conducted by the United Nations for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In 2016, the secretariat of the Convention on biological diversity published a study analyzing the state of art and the potential prevention of the impact of marine litter on coastal ecosystems’ biodiversity. Those are all reports that testify of the increasing preoccupation for impacting ecosystems, human health and economy.

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/CE recognizes at a European level the problem of marine litter, identified like one of the 11 descriptors (no.10) necessary to attain a good ecological state of the marine environment by 2020. The MITECO (Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition), previosly denominated MAPAMA (Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Food), presented in spring 2016 the Measures Program for Spain.

Life LEMA has the will to answer the need for establishment of this European policies and requirements, but the project is also a reflection of the support of the States that joined the project of worldwide engagement formulated during the United States Conference in 2012 on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). This engagement entails taking action for reducing the effects of marine litter. Life LEMA is a potential supporting tool to attain this objective, by contributing to prevent future damages on the coastal and marine environment.