Ocean Action Hub

Marine Pollution - CLOSED

The online discussion on Addressing Marine Pollution took place here during the preparatory process for The Ocean Conference in order to engage stakeholders in assessing the challenges and opportunities related to delivering on implementation of SDG14.1 aimed at combatting marine pollution. The discussion ran from 6 March – 24 March 2017 and is now closed. More....

The final report of this discussion will be shared with the Ocean Conference co-chairs and posted online here shortly. Other discussions are ongoing here

Marine Pollution Discussions - Question 1

What are the challenges faced in your community, country or region in achieving Target 14.1, aimed at combatting marine pollution?

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Roshan T Ramessur's picture

Roshan T Ramessur said:

The estuarine and marine environments of Mauritius have suffered ever-increasing impact from anthropogenic activities and Submarine Groundwater Discharge (SGD) is now recognized as an important pathway between land and sea for nutrients. As such, this flow may contribute to the biogeochemical and other marine budgets of nutrients in nearshore waters. The stable isotopic composition of submarine waters is also characterized by significant variability and heavy isotope enrichment and used to predict the contribution of fresh terrestrially derived groundwater to SGD (range from a few % to almost 100%) in Flic en Flac lagoon, Mauritius. Sources of input of trace metals (in particular, Pb, Cu and Zn) in Mauritius in recent years include urban and road runoff, landfill leachates including scrap metal and solid waste leachates . The potential sources of Pb in sediments from upstream to the estuary were from the adjacent motorway and road runoff causing significant quantities to be trapped within the St. Louis River in the Grand River North West catchment area. Pb and Zn were significantly positively correlated in the sediments along St. Louis River indicating a common source for Pb and Zn. Significant negative correlations were also found for both Pb and Zn with dissolved oxygen in summer along St. Louis River which indicated that the presence of anoxic waters influenced the trapping of Zn and Pb in the sediment phase. A phasedown of Pb in petrol was necessary and with the introduction of unleaded petrol and vehicles equipped with catalytic converters, studies on levels of Pd and Pt to provide baseline data need to be done in the near future and integrated in environmental development schemes and effective coastal zone management of small island states.

Ahmad H. Abu Hilal's picture

Ahmad H. Abu Hilal said:

It is not an innovation; it is my experience for over more than forty years: Do not give up; our region need continuing and sustainable educational and awareness efforts and programmes by international agencies helping the regional and local authorities and agencies. Enforcement of the laws and regulations is essential and therefore decision and policy makers should be targeted by the efforts of the international agencies in particular because I know they listen the these agencies.

Rodrigo García Píngaro's picture

Rodrigo García ... said:

Sin lugar a duda, la contaminación proveniente de las cuencas adyacentes por la masiva proliferación de cultivos de soja y otros cultivos con altos índices de fertilizantes y pesticidas.

Necesidad de una gestión integrada costero marina eficaz, coherente. Frenar los cultivos en los márgenes de las cuencas y sus tributarios.

Control de barcos y sus descargas de alije, incluyendo floculación y sentinas.

Arjan van Houwelingen's picture

Arjan van Houwe... said:

At a global level, there are two main challenges to effective action on marine pollution.

First, with political interest focused on either land-based sources of marine pollution or marine plastic and micro plastics, by far the most deathly and debilitating form of marine debris for our marine wildlife, namely abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear has largely escaped scrutiny in the international debate on marine pollution to date.

Second, whereas there is political agreement on the need for action (see every sustainable fisheries resolution since 2005), and there is political agreement on what action to take (see every sustainable fisheries resolution since 2009), there has been insufficient political will to translate that clarity of need and direction into real action on the ground.

With an additional 600,000 to 800,000 metric tons of ghost gear being added to our oceans each year the problem gets bigger, the economic, social and environmental impacts get more widespread and unsustainable and the urgency for action gets greater.

Erietera Aram's picture

Erietera Aram said:


We are not different from the rest of the world with sources that lead us to this global problem - pollution. In Kiribati, we do have such sources as well and it will continue to rise and I believe that with no action taken today, we will live with these and it will cost us million dollars to get rid of them. The people of Kiribati have been living with organic rubbish and it's normal to throw rubbish anywhere you want. With the presence of these plastics and other inorganic rubbish, we still practice the way we treated our rubbish without knowing that these will be with us for years and years and will end up in our food chain. We haven't thought about this as a serious problem. People need more about pollution and its sources but most importantly, its impacts on the lives of our children and everyone. 


We may start raising awareness as we can see nowadays but the question remains strong and confusing as we have a small land area to dispose of trash. We have don't have the machinery to remove all these  (shipwrecks) from our shorelines. We recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans and more but we ship them off our coast for recycling purposes. 

We have the same sources of pollution but we are different when it comes to dealing with rubbish. Our land is not enough and vulnerable to have tons of rubbish. Resources are rare and if pollution gets worse here in Kiribati, another completely different story will be told.


Dr. Balasaheb Kulkarni's picture

Dr. Balasaheb K... said:

Coastal ecosystem in and around Mumbai located on West coast of India is facing problems of pollution. Among many factors, human activities in coastal zones are major factor of pollution. But efforts are in progress to keep the coasal ecosystem clean for better fishery resources.

Ahmad Mahdavi's picture

Ahmad Mahdavi said:

POPs in the deep ocean, according to a paper in Nature I received POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) are found in bodies of aquatic life in deep ocean area. I talked about these types of pollution many years ago and now this is the evidence.

Ahmad H. Abu Hilal's picture

Ahmad H. Abu Hilal said:

Dear Dr Christopher,

I hope that you are doing well. In fact I am please to contact you again. Please find bellow my contribution to the discussion>

I wish you, Dr Kershaw and Dr Hagg  all the best.

Professor Ahmad H. Abu Hilal wrote:

  1. What are the challenges faced in your community, country or region in achieving target 14.1, aimed at combating marine pollution

There are many sources of marine pollution in my country; Jordan along the short coastline on the Gulf of Aqaba. The first source is causing pollution with all types of marine debris (litter) including plastics originating from land-based and off shore human activities. These activities include activities of the local (Jordanian) visitors and tourists which I call beach goers; glass boat users; professional and amateurs fishermen; and ferry boats passengers.

The problem is not only a national one but it is a regional problem along the gulf of Aqaba as well as along the whole Red Sea region which includes Saudi Arabia; Egypt; Sudan, and  Yemen and even in other countries within PERSGA such as Somalia and Djibouti. Furthermore, the published reports show that the problem is common even in the protected areas in these countries.

The problem has been reported in r countries in the Middle East countries such as the Arabian Gulf States along the Gulf and Gulf of Oman; along the East Mediterranean region in Lebanon; Gaza Strip in Palestine and in Israel.

I know that the problem is a global one but in our region it is increasing despite the efforts of the local authorities and NGOs in some of these countries.

In the recent years wars and political conflicts in the region is contributing to the problem.

It is a challenging problem and therefore it needs sound management efforts including educational and public awareness programmes targeting the local (national) visitors (tourists); fishermen; glass boaters, port employees; the authorities and personnel of the passengers ferry boats. The efforts of the international agencies can and should include the decision and policy makers in these countries.

Strict enforcement of the laws and regulations in these countries is lacking.

I believe deeply that international and regional agencies can and must play a very important and useful role in attempts to overcome this problem.

The second problem in the Red Sea region is tourism effects on the Coral reef. This is in addition to the potential impacts of the climate (temperature) changes and sea water acidification which is not very clear in the region and it needs thorough investigations.

Professor Ahmad H. Abu Hilal wrote:

2- What do you see the priority which can all rally in global (call for action) in achieving target 14.1?

More comprehensive and intensive efforts on sustainable educational and awareness programmes on the local and regional scales by local, regional and international authorities and agencies. 

3- Share any innovative partnerships- existing or proposed – aimed at combating marine pollution that you are aware of or involved in, that could be launched at the June Ocean Conference and can advance effective actions from local to global levels.

It is not an innovation; it is my experience for over more than forty years: Do not give up; our region need continuing and sustainable educational and awareness efforts and programmes by international agencies helping the regional and local authorities and agencies. Enforcement of the laws and regulations is essential and therefore decision and policy makers should be targeted by the efforts of the international agencies in particular because I know they listen the these agencies.

Omoyemen Lucia Odigie- Emmanuel's picture

Omoyemen Lucia ... said:

Thanks Christopher, your comment is noted and well received.

Although coastal communities, anticipated that the Abidjan Convention will result in their greater well-being and economic benefits and preservation of their livelihood which are predominantly tied to health of the marine and coastal ecosystems, the realization of their desires is tied to develop national policies and legislation, including those that incorporate the polluter pays principle, in order to strengthen the implementation of the Abidjan Convention and the effective enforcement of the Convention , integration of a human rights perspective and preservation of future generations in the text of additional protocols

In Nigeria, on the 7th of March, there was a Consultative Meeting on Draft Additional protocols to the Abidjan Convention as a way of fine-tuning the additional instruments of intervention which will enable National Action Plans to be developed and implemented at the country level. There is also need to strengthen capacity of both national and regional institutions including communities and other stakeholders. We also need to remember that parties to the Abidjan Convention rightly articulated that irrespective of the Abidjan Convention, It would be necessary to domesticate and nationally implement existing laws related to preservation of the oceans and seas.

Roger Erismann's picture

Roger Erismann said:

Aquatic litter from Switzerland:  If we can't stop it here, nobody has a chance downstream.

The challenges are both technical and political :  Switzerland is urbized with a strong economy, however the waste water system is undersized and rainwater runoff is largeley unregulated. The average voter is convinced that there is no issue with aquaitc litter here and any problems can be solved by behavioral modification.  Our study and that of one of the countries leading reserach institutions points to higher densities of microplastics and trash on Lake Geneva. 

Qualification of our experience:  we are a small association that has completed over 160 beach litter surveys on Lake Geneva, Switzerland in the past two years (we are starting our third year now).  We formalized our approach by adopting the OSPAR protocol and the MLW classification system starting in year two, we produced a detailed document that compares beach litter density and composition on Lake Geneva with beaches in the OSPAR region (80 surveys and 27’790 pieces of shoreline debris).

Political – Environmental assessments and framework : 

  • There is no federal limit on the amount of trash that can be diverted in streams or lakes by storm-water systems. (see above links)
  • Trash or the presence of trash is not considered when doing environmental assessments nor is it considered pollution. (see above links)
  • There is no agency at any level that recognizes aquatic litter as a water quality problem.  For example, our requests for information were not handled by the “Water” section, they were handled by the trash section.
  • There is no limit to how much or how often water treatment plants can divert solid waste (Q-tips, tampons, toilet bowl fresheners) into streams or lakes.  Nor are water treatment plants obligated to notify the public when a diversion occurs.
  • Trash in the water is not considered a problem (although the evidence is easy to see)
  • The overall push is to treat this as a behavioral problem (if only people wouldn’t litter) rather than look at the objects in the water system and take appropriate action.

Political – Structure:

  • The municipalities are responsible for waste management and the maintenance of the shoreline within the boundaries of their community.  Therefore associations like ours must convince about 50 different administrations about the problem.
  •  As long as the trash is in the water it is nobody’s responsibility until it surfaces on the lake shore.  Creating a system of complicity that lets the trash go by.
  • We wrote about one persons struggle to stop the trash that washes up on her property here: https://medium.com/@hammerdirt/the-unpaid-garbageman-no-bikinis-here-a17b23d68e4#.54urhrlw5  

Political - Awareness - see no evil:

  • Authorities still have not made the connection with trash in the water in Switzerland and trash downstream
  • The popultaion has not made the connection with trash in the water and trash downstream
  • There is no study down stream of us that clearly demonstrates the connection (although we are trying)
  • There is no effort (financial resurces committed) to inform the public of the extent of the problem.
  • Awareness campaigns are centered around the appreicaitng nature not confronting the problem
  • The environment is low on the priorities of Swiss voters

Political - No international pressure:

  • Although 100% of Swiss water flows into other countries there is no apparent pressure from neighboring states to limit the amount of trash that flows across the border

Technical – dumping at depth:

  • Storm-water and untreated water are diverted at depth (30-40 meters) neutrally buoyant objects remain in suspension for an extended period.  Eventually a portion gets pushed to the shoreline.  But for the most part it remains hidden (goes downstream) or settles to the lake bottom.

Technical - muiltiple small streams and urbanization:

  • We have a vast network of steams and rivers in urban and suburban environemnts.  Thus limiting the possibility of establishing riparian catchment areas.
  • High property prices further complicate the issue.
  • The urbainzation makes retrofitting difficult
Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Dear Roger,  Very interesting account!!!  Surprised that there may not be transboundary cooperation (if I am understanding you correctly) that addresses water quality and pollution in the region; or as concerns Switzerland.  Nonetheless the issue is serious and to mobilize requires public engagement to trigger reform.  Unfortunately the 'out-of-sight-out-of-mind' problem is universal and sometimes only emerges when there is a crisis.  The urbanization does add another layer.  There have been success stories; eg the Danube River basin where I think similar environments exist and challenges are common (Switzerland sits at the very western edge of the watershed). There is quite a bit of knowledge resources online; maybe have a look.

Roger Erismann's picture

Roger Erismann replied:

Dear Christopher,  There is "transboudndary cooperation" but not that addresses the problem.  Just look for the data, or contact anybody in Switzerland about aquatic litter, see where it takes you.  

One way to verify any of those statements is inquire about the national strategy to reduce aquatic litter.  You could even ask for the regional plan where we live (Lake Geneva) and see if there is a consolidated strategy that employs techniques similar to other countries that have taken the lead.  Here is the web address http://www.cipel.org/ .   All this to say as long as you focus only on the Ocean and not the source of the trash (80% from activites on land) countries and regions upstream will not proritize the actions nor the financial resources to tackle the problem.  It is our belief that if in Switzerland we wanted to solve the problem we could, we could find the best cost effective solution.  But right now it is not our problem (satire)...

An association like ours is only a witness to the problem all we can do is document, all requests for funding have been refused.  We have nver recieved a written response from the EEA, OSPAR or UNEP and only one city on the lake that we have contacted requested more information.  There is no research money availabe so University partnerships are not possible.  If you have a few more minutes you can read this account of one residents three year struggle to deal with the sytematic polution of her property, the document was constructed using the offical correspondance between her, the muncipality and the state:  https://medium.com/@hammerdirt/the-unpaid-garbageman-no-bikinis-here-a17b23d68e4#.121ludcs4 

Robert Niewiadomski's picture

Robert Niewiadomski said:

I would like to raise two issues related to question 1. 

First, I would like to echo what Steven Cristol wrote in his post regarding regulatory oversight.  Certainly, it appears that in the current U. S. political climate, the general tendency to reduce funding of federal agencies, will also lead to very significant cuts affecting the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency.  This is obviously very concerning since, if implemented, it might seriously affect the Agency's ability to fulfill its mission. 

Second, while discussing marine pollution, the phenomenon of the underwater noise pollution should also be considered. Passing ships, seismic surveys conducted by oil exploration companies, naval sonars etc. have a massive impact on marine life, particularly on those animals that heavily rely on acoustic information. For several decades the ambient noise has been increasing rapidly. 

Thus, it is important to remember that marine ecosystem are faced not only with the problems associated with chemical and debris pollution but also with the ever-increasing underwater noise.

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Dear Robert.  Good point on also capturing the issue of underwater noise.  This is something that we have placed in the submissions on oceans pollution to the wider Oceans Conference discussions.  It seems at the global level to be something that is not well understood as yet, but aware of research work ongoing in some areas to build the evidence base.

Oleg Khalidullin's picture

Oleg Khalidullin said:

Есть предположение, что наибольшее влияние на качество океанических поверхностей оказывают воды, прошедшие техногенную обработку. Все воды прошедшие по трубопроводам и по турбинам гидроэлектростанций. Все эти воды меняют свою структуру и покрывают верхние слои океанов. Еще предполагается, что испарения такой воды отличаются от биологических испарений - дыхания животного мира и транспирации растений. Природой не предусмотрено такое использование воды. Необходимы срочнейшие исследования этих предположений. Если будет подтверждение этих гипотез, то будет найдены истинные причины изменения климата планеты.

Omoyemen Lucia Odigie- Emmanuel's picture

Omoyemen Lucia ... said:

-domestication of a International Laws protecting the oceans against marine pollution and their enhanced implementation.
-National Review of obsolete laws
-Strengthen implementation of the polluter pays principle
-Education and enlightenment programs including campaign/advocacy in order to achieve behavioural change towards reducing pollution of our marine environment
-strengthening laws and regulations mandating international best practices in oil exploitation
-sustainable cleaning of water bodies without leaving debilitating effects.
-deliberately enhancing Financing meant to pursue the points listed above including other actions that is needed to achieve goal 14

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Dear Omoyemen.  Thanks for this input that follows the submission on the issues that face Nigeria and the list of actions to address.  You may be aware of the Regional Seas Programme for West Africa that is governed under a convention known as the "Convention for Cooperation in the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Atlantic Coast of the West, Central and Southern Africa Region" or the Abidjan Convention in short.  The Convention seeks to foster cooperation among countries in that region to share common solutions on protecting the marine environment.  Read more at http://abidjanconvention.org/  There is also the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Activities (GPA) that supports the Regional Seas Programmes in addressing land-based pollution.  Read more at http://web.unep.org/gpa/

Omoyemen Lucia Odigie- Emmanuel's picture

Omoyemen Lucia ... said:

The negative impacts of marine pollution to Nigerian Oceans especially in the Niger Delta and areas within and around Bayelsa where I reside are enormous hence combatting marine pollution is a huge challenge that will require cooperation and involvement of all. The problem of marine pollution is evident in:

-ocean and marine degradation and alteration of flora, fauna and ocean ecosystem.
-destruction of aquatic life
-thermal pollution resulting in paired growth and reproduction of aquatic species
-obstruction of their natural locomotive pattern
-eutrophication' (over fertilization)
-Depletion of dissolved oxygen in water resulting in massive fish kills, contaminating seafood with toxins and altering ecosystems.
-Damage to the exoteric values of beaches resulting in closure of recreation beaches and oceans and loss of economic resources
-Deadly Effects on health of marine animals

In order to achieve the target of By 2025, preventing and significantly reducing marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution, the following challenges must be surmounted:
-The challenge of managing and ridding the oceans and marines of abandoned or Lost fishing Equipments and other extraneous materials that are left or swept into the oceans.
-The challenge of managing and ridding the oceans and marines of plastics and other effluents
-the challenge of dealing with waste heats and other kinds of sewage and organic effluent often discharged into the seas.
-control of industrial discharge, sewage from forestry, farming and other waste often discarded into the seas.

Yuri Obst's picture

Yuri Obst said:

When knowing the solution to wastewater is clear (no pun, simply literal) at http://touchline.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/cop/issue22/68-1 the reality of the problem truly is "Does anyone care enough to implement a simple one-step solution that is already commercially available for the benefit foremost of the environment?" Only time will tell - Two Years and still pushing hard at https://twitter.com/ObstYuri and www.baleen.com/news

Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon said:

I edited my comment - added some issues / challenges :)

Tomás de Oliveira Bredariol's picture

Tomás de Olivei... said:

In Brazil we also have the issue of produced water discharge from offshore oil and gas platforms. The pertaining legislation establishes only a maximum amount of oil on water but does not considers the total pollution charge nor other toxic elements (e.g. metals). These components are discharged in huge volumes daily and may bioaccumulate in fish and other aquatic animals.

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Yes Tomas, the other waste streams that are generated that are not as obvious as plastic litter is just as important and also needs to be highlighted!  Bioaccumulation and toxicity in the ecosystem is an area of continued research to better understand not only the risks (human, ecosystem health) but what can be done to influence practice of upstream generators.  

Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon said:

Hello again from Indonesian Waste Platform.

This is my additional information regarding Indonesia. Many efforts are ongoing in Indonesia and with all underneath remarks please consider the extremely complicated situation of Indonesia regarding solving the waste problems - Geography, decentralised government, diverse cultures and Indonesia as an emerging economy.

Some of the challenges we face there are:

Indonesia's geographical situation - 17.000+ islands, area 1.905 million km², 54.000+ km coastline

Decentralised government and autonomous regions - policies made in Jakarta need to trickle down via many channels to reach local communities - via provincial government to district level to sub-district level - to village (Kampung) to Desa. 

The Indonesian Throughflow - waste carried into Indonesian waters from outside Indonesia 

Lack of data, sources and hotspots

In most places no waste management in place

No environmental education in the national curriculum / lack of awareness about the impact of waste on the environment, on public health and on the economy

Low economy

High quantity of single-portion and single-use packaging (at the time developed for low income households)

Logistics regarding transport of recyclables from remote regions /islands to Java, where most recycle companies are located - low prices for plastic and relatively high transport costs

Lack of collaboration between stakeholders, between the various sectors 

Gaps in legislation and lack of law enforcement

Widespread use of pesticides and waste from mining entering the marine environment

I am not sure if you like me to elaborate in detail about the above points ? If so, please let me know :)

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Hi again Nina.  This is useful to give further insights on the scale of the issue.  Can certainly appreciate the unique challenges the country faces on account of the diversity in geography, cultures and socio-economic situtaions across the country.  As developmental partners we wish to see how local successes may be used as models to replicate to other areas that face similar challenges.  Maybe you can elaborate further on that aspect?

Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon replied:

Dear Christopher, I shared the link to this discussion to Jo Marlow and Hery Yusamandra, asked them to join these discussions - regarding their work in Raja Ampat at Misool Foundation https://www.misoolfoundation.org/ They seem to be succesful , I have asked Jo for more details, hope she will join here.


Indonesian Waste Platform model: IWP seems to be succesful in connecting stakeholders cross-sector and supporting stakeholders to find each other and collaborate, numerous connections/direct introductions have been made -  IWP seems to be 'accepted' by stakeholders as 'hub' - a neutral meeting point, for news sharing and connecting stakeholders. 1+1=3 . It would be good if such country hubs could be established in other countries.  

IWP is involved in underneath initiatives regarding succesfully lobbying and collaborating with ministries for inclusion of non-government stakeholders and cross-sector collaborations nationwide emerging - regarding the National Action Plan initiated by Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs - the draft still confidential. Various relevant ministries collaborating and responsible for implementation in the Plan + non-government stakeholders engagement. Much in the draft is based on the Honolulu Strategy framework.                                                                                                                                             and IWP is involved in collaborative program Ministries of Environment Indonesia & The Netherlands - MoU - capacity building and establishing partnerships for waste management

Delegation: representatives Ministry Environment, Coordinating Ministry Maritime, KADIN (Chamber of Commerce), ADUPI (Recycling Association), and other stakeholders.

From 27 to 31 March the delegation will visit Holland for a comprehensive full program - including site visits, discussions & networking events. Topics /

Challenge at IWP: we have zero funding to run this hub's backoffice. We suggested to Ministry Maritime to 'incorporate' IWP - since that ministry suggested they like to coordinate. We suggested to allocate spokespersons from all governmental agencies to be represented in IWP - for short lines in communications - for news sharing regarding the implementation of the National Action Plan - to bridge to all other sectors - Industry, Grass roots/community initiatives, Universities. 

This is what I see as a major challenge in the implementation of the National Action Plan in Indonesia: efficient and effective stakeholder involvement due to the huge number of stakeholders spread out in all regions and the need for co-ownership.

IWP challenge: funding to man IWP backoffice - as a 'backbone' organisation - we have zero funding, it seems to be very difficult to find funding for networking activities overhead.

Hub Facilitator's picture

Hub Facilitator said:

Contributed via email from: Mohamed Omar Mohamed Alim, Director of Environmental Conservation, Office of the Prime Minister, Federal Republic of Somalia:

Thanks for your facilitating the marine pollution Forum including challenges faced by the communities globally, such as improving waste management in coastal and reducing fresh water pollution. Somalia is located on the Horn of Africa; its coastal line is 3,333 km long. The country has the potential for sustainable fish harvesting of about 200,000-300,000 tons per annum, however, prior to the civil war only 15,000 ton per annum were produced. In addition, as a result of the civil war the country experienced marine and coastal environmental degradation. Coastal and marine habitats and resources of Somalia suffered from habitat destruction, pollution resulting from oil spillage, dumping waste and resource over exploitation by illegal foreign fishing vessels, rapid urbanization and coastal population growth. Climate change is further exacerbating pressures on marine and coastal areas.

Therefore, taking into account to the above stated pressure, the Office of State Minister for the Environment in the Office of Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia will focus on:

  1. Defining national research assessment in order to plan for coastal and marine environment management;
  2. More effective and targeted dissemination of research findings;
  3. Improving the accessibility of scientific data and information;
  4. Promoting indigenous knowledge for management in order enhance the involvement of the coastal communities;
  5. Improving the generation of knowledge through direct research programs and projects;
  6. Support the development and consistency of periodic reporting of coastal and marine bordering State to the Federal and Regional Administrations levels;
  7. Promoting the participation of experts, scientists, managers, decision and policy makers at Federal and Regional Administrations levels
  8. Arranging National Environment on Marine and Coastal management symposium or conferences.

A rise of sea level occurs when the volume of water in ocean basin increases. For instance, an increase in atmospheric temperatures results in warming and expansion of oceans, which results in sea level rice. Sea level rise is therefore threatening coastal communities, through:

  1. Flooding of low lying coastal lands, estuaries, deltas and salt marches; and
  2. Affecting fish nesting and fishing grounds, e.g. wetlands, and coral reefs, mangrove forests and marshes.

Climate change is becoming a global problem that calls for a global solution. International meetings have been held to discuss the phenomena and ways to address it. In case of Somalia to address these matters, it is necessary to take following measures:

  1. Raising awareness among ordinary people would greatly minimize greenhouse gas emitting activities;
  2. Saving energy - turning off lights when not needed;
  3. Recycling for wastes like paper, organic (food), plastic, battery, electronics, glass, metals;
  4. Reforestation, and using trees to provide shade that helps keep the soil and local environment cooler; and
  5. Enhancing agricultural productivity in order to reduce the expansion of inefficient farming.  

In order to restore the Marine and Coastal Environment of Somalia, including re-planting of mangroves, protecting marine species, preventing and halting coastal mining stones for urban construction through environmental policy, legal and regulatory actions, mass media awareness, arranging workshops, seminars and meetings to build up the capacity of the coastal communities to contribute to sustainable development of coastal and marine resources and to through remedial action regain depleted resources.

- Mohamed Omar Mohamed Alim, Director of Environmental Conservation, Office of the Prime Minister, Federal Republic of Somalia

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Thanks you Director.  This is an interesting insight into the situtaion in Somalia along with action points linking to enhancing resilience to climate change.  Have there been any emerging successes as yet on any of these areas of action?

Ramesh Ramachandran's picture

Ramesh Ramachandran said:

The most critical challenge along the coast of South Asia is land based pollution: i) untreated sewage; ii) solidwastes, iii) marine plastics and microplastics, iv) nutrient enrichment. There's also lack of preparedness to deal with sudden man made disasters such as the recent oil spill along the coast of Chennai, India. We have observed serious ecological damages particulalry to the rocky shore fauna, pelagic fishery and turtles.  Capacity building at every level is therefore crucial.

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Thanks for this contribution Ramesh.  Indeed the complexity of dealing with such intertwined pollution sources and impacts is daunting.  Any good examples of capcity building or other measures in India that may be addressing these challenges?

Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon said:

Good afternoon. News from Indonesian Waste Platform (IWP)


This platform is a 'hub' connecting stakeholders from government, academia, companies, NGO/community initiatives. In IWP stakeholders from all regions in Indonesia and international are invited to join. 

IWP is endorsed by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs. 

IWP promotes and facilitates cross-sector and cross-border collaborations , supports the forming of a commonshared vision and strategy on Marine Litter and land-based waste solutions. 

We share news via IWP website and via IWP Facebook Forum at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/210686719277064/

For more information please feel free to contact: nina@indonesianwaste.org

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Thanks for sharing this information Nina.  Very useful

S Subramanian's picture

S Subramanian said:

<p>Recentraly In Chennai ( south India) , huge oil spill happened in the Bay of bengal... is any kind procedure to acess the impact on various eco-systems of life cycle. is any case study materials availble to guide us to acess the impact. I am particularly worried about the ground water section of the coastal area. Please inform any simple methods we can predict or acess the oil spill impact on the caostal aquifers.</p>



Richard Anthony's picture

Richard Anthony said:

In Nigeria, I do not think marine pollution is a concept government, citizens and businesses pay special attention to. For instance, it is commonplace to find oil pollution and other debris in the rivers and oceans of the Niger-delta area and amazingly government regulatory institutions lack the requisite capacity to hold businesses accountable for abuses or perhaps due to the absolute weak enforcing regulatory framework. Similarly,  government at various levels lack the political will for implementation and enforcement of safety standards, legal requirements, and compliance schemes. In most local communities the ocean and rivers as sources of livelihood are long forgotten and native people now rely on stipends from businesses operating in their communities as compensation from wrongdoings is as well far from them.

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Dear Richard, Your points are well noted and as you will probably know, the issues in Nigereia are similar in many parts of the world.  It does require a great deal more committment from commerical firms working with governments aound common themes rather than setting adversarial positions - it of mutual interest.  But easier said than done in most cases.  We need strong champions on both sides to create meaningful partnerships.  Any examples where this may be working in Nigeria?

Willemijn Peeters's picture

Willemijn Peeters said:

In the Netherlands and surrounding countries, a big part of marine pollution consists of (primary) microplastics. This problem is less visible than the plastic pollution problem in for instance Asia. Furthermore, consumers do not feel immediately drawn into action, as they are usually not aware they can act upon it.

Even for companies, marine pollution, esp. plastics, is seen as a problem that doesn't play a major role in their business. Although almost all companies spill plastics themselves, and work with companies from less developed countries. So they can surely influence the amount of plastics that is leaking into our ocean.

A constraint is that companies that are willing to act upon the issue are not internationally acknowledged for their efforts. This gives them a competitive disadvantage, they feel, although in a sense, it is the other way round.

So say a company would be willing to address microplastics pollution in the car tyres they produce. This will take up a lot of money and R&D effort. In the meantime, the 'cheap' tyres can keep on going.

Same goes for microplastics in paint, cosmetics, clothing and packaging.

Searious Business developed a Plastic Scan, to calculate and illustrate the amount of plastics spilled per company. This works well, but instruments like these should be used more broadly throughout the work to ensure a level playing field.

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Hi Willemijn, Thanks for your observations...well taken especially translating practice to dvelpomg countries.  Also noted the Plastic Scan tool.  As with the Plastics Scorecard mentioned above, how is it being applied by corporations currently if at all?  Any testimonials to share?

Willemijn Peeters's picture

Willemijn Peeters replied:

Dear Cristopher,

Yes, the Plastic Scan has been used by some 200 companies now, mostly small and medium enterprises in the Netherlands.

However, I have been talking to Unilever and Philips about it, too, to use this as a tool for their suppliers from SMEs. They are quite impressed about the effect, usability and simplicity of the Plastic Scan.

Helmut Maurer from the European Commission commented on it: "Extremely useful tool for companies to quickly gain insight into how much plastic they spill throughout the value chain, and how to act upon it.".

We will develop an international version (English, Spanish, German, French) this year, when enough parties involved acknowledge the added value.

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox said:

Welcome to the online forum on addressing marine pollution in advance of the SDG-14 Ocean Conference that will take place in June of this year. We are very pleased to be moderating this discussion and look forward to hearing from you. 

We are interested in receiving your contributions on how the global community can respond to reducing the menace of marine pollution from the level of the citizen, all the way to government.  Please feel free to make your inputs on one or all of the questions we have posed here.  Under Question 1, we are interested in learning about the critical challenges that exist in your country/region in relation to the main types/sources of pollution, and constraints faced in addressing the issue.     

This forum will remain open until 24th March and we will monitor the inputs and provide moderation to ensure the discussion effectively feeds makes a substantive input to be carried to the Conference in June.  Summaries of the responses will be compiled at the end of the discussion period and posted on the platform. 

Your voice matters!  Make it count as the global community converges in June 2017 to commit to action to realize Sustainable Development Goal 14 to sustain Life Below Water for our and future generations! 

Sarah S's picture

Sarah S replied:

My perspective is that of an American living and working in the Philippines. The Philippines is one of the top contributors to plastic pollution in the ocean. The economy is growing but solid waste management systems are not keeping up with increased consumerism. The average Filipino buys what they need day-to-day, instead of planning further into the future and buying in bulk as most Americans do. Many Filipinos (especially in fisherfolk communities) only earn enough to survive day-to-day and so do not have the privilege of planning ahead as Americans do (cultural views of time also play a part in this). Sari-saris (neighborhood convenience stores) sell a wide range of disposable, 1 time use products (toiletries, laundry detergent, snacks) wrapped in plastic sachets. Therefore plastic use is even more rampant here than in the US, where we usually buy these products in larger bottles which require less plastic.

The national ordinance RA 9003 requires residents to segregate waste into 3 categories (biodegradable, residual, and recyclable) and requires the establishment of sanitary landfills for every municipality or cluster of municipalities. However, the province where I live is one of the poorest in the Philippines and it has no sanitary landfills because the funds are not available.

In January, segregation became mandatory and began to be enforced in my municipality. Garbage collectors will not collect a household’s trash unless it is segregated. However, we only have 1 small garbage truck. It does not have the capacity to consistently collect trash from all of the households in our municipality. As I mentioned earlier, there are no sanitary landfills in our province. When the garbage truck does collect trash, it is brought to an open dump site right next to the ocean.

Furthermore, half of the barangays (neighborhoods) that make up our municipality are far from the town center. The garbage truck only collects garbage from the town center where only half of our municipality’s residents live. Therefore, most residents need to deal with the trash on their own. They either burn the trash (including plastics), or bury it in the sand by the ocean.

Political changes and elections are another obstacle. When a new mayor is elected in the Philippines, he/she has a lot of power in assigning local government jobs and continuity of existing projects is difficult. For example, an Australian NGO helped fund a solid waste management project in my municipality about 10 years ago with successful results: segregation of waste in every barangay (neighborhood) and backyard gardens using biodegradable waste at every household. However, this project was not able to be sustained with the next change in political leadership.

Erietera Aram's picture

Erietera Aram replied:


You have explained and displayed the finest picture of what we are experiencing here in Kiribati. We have more than thirty atolls and our population is more than 100,000. Almost half of this population is living in the capital with the square kilometer of 15.76. We have huge waves of plastics coming in while there is not enough space to dispose. 

It would be great to have great supports from these developed countries to deal with all these. They came into our shores looking fancy, we use them, dispose and will for sure adrift to their shores one day. We may export them one day as micro-plastics and will conquer their food chain and will end up in everyone's system which is bad.

They produce them, we use them and at the end we will all taste its impacts. We all need to invest in minimzing its impacts and ban the production of non-biodegradable products for our children.


Jamil saeed's picture

Jamil saeed replied:

في مياه خليج عدن والبحر الاحمر 

التلوث من المصادر اكثرها البرية كمخلفات الصرف الصحي ومخلفات اكياس البلاستيك آلتي تنشا بفعل الانشطة الاستهلاكية اليومية والنشاط السياحي قرب الشواطئ

وقد قمنا كمنظمات مجتمع مدني ومؤسسات حكومية بتنفيذ عدة حملات لتنظيف البحار  من مخلفات البلاستيك الصغيرة 

 يمكنكم الاطلاع عليها  وعلى التقرير التلفزيوني على موقع منظمتنا على الروابط التالية 




كما ان هناك مصادر اخرى كتسرب النفط اثناء التعبية والتفريغ للنفط واغلبها اثناء تغيير مياه التوازن

Oscar Velez's picture

Oscar Velez replied:

In Mexico, one of the main causes of marine pollution is the generation of waste, derived from fishing, tourism and / or recreational activities. In the absence of containers to deposit them, people leave the waste on the beaches or on the public road causing them to end up in the seas. The lack of awareness and environmental education of the population and of the tourists represents a great challenge to face.
Nonetheless, through our Civil Society Organization (CSO) "Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C. (COBI)", which was founded in 1999 as the first Mexican marine conservation CSO, we promote effective social participation to conserve marine biodiversity and establish sustainable fisheries, and since 2014, in the Gulf of California, especifically in Bahia de Kino (Kino Bay), our community partners have developed a “Social Environmental Education Program”, which aims to increase concioussness about the importance of caring for the world by protecting the coastline, reduce marine pollution and improving their community by practicing the three R's of waste management: reduce, reuse, and recycle, particularly of plastic bottles that they exchange for household items, toys or food/meal vouchers.

“Bahia de Kino community” is an example of our work in the sense of how building strong fishing organizations can help to sustainably use the oceans, as they know how important is to become a key player in making the environment a safe, clean, sustainable and healthy place, beyond the activities they do for their survival.

As COBI’s programs operate in four of the 17 Mexican coastal states where 70% of the fisheries production is concentrated, we are intending to lead our community partners to become environmental education leaders and be more aware and responsible about their production and consumption impacts on marine pollution, in order to reduce it and positively transform the place where they live.

Also, we know that coastal ecosystems, as well as our health, are related to what we consume from the oceans and are vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts. It is important to evaluate if benthic organisms with commercial importance bioaccumulate some contaminants. In this sense, in 2015 we collaborated with the “Food and Development Research Center (Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo A.C.)”, and completed a study that evaluated the levels of mercury (Hg) and organochlorine pesticides (OPS) in edible tissue of swimming crabs Callinectes bellicosus collected along the coast of Sonora and Sinaloa, Mexico. We shared tests and samples about the bioaccumulation and concentrations of these contaminants, and determined that the levels were below the maximum allowable limits set by the official Mexican regulation and by the FDA for fish and fishery products for human consumption.

So, we hope this serves as different ways of achieving Target 14.1, but definitely, Nations, through their local governments and competent authorities, must invest in the installation of containers for the deposit of waste generated in the coasts and give them proper management and treatment, so as to reduce and avoid marine pollution in order to accomplish this Target.

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Thanks Oscar for these useful insights on what your organization has been doing in Mexico!  Of course please share web links to news stories and other documents that show the successes.

Steven Cristol's picture

Steven Cristol replied:

Regarding Question 1: From a current U.S. perspective, two primary challenges are in product development decision-making and regulatory oversight. Regarding the former, still too few companies are considering plastics/microplastics impacts when making product development choices -- i.e., deciding which products to make (and not make), and what features/functions they should (or shouldn't) have. Systematic integration of decision models that include environmental KPI's at the front end of product design would help. Such models are available, but most companies feel they're "not ready." (How will they know when they're ready?) And the software that most manufacturers use to help make product portfolio and design decisions do not integrate early-stage sustainability assessments even though that could be relatively easily accomplished. While the business case for sustainability has broadly been made in terms of brand reputation, supply chain resilience, compliance, employee health and safety, and talent retention/acquisition, it doesn't seem to have been made as well for plastics alternatives. I'm hopeful about BizNGO's Plastics Scorecard and their work on raising awareness of alternative safer polymers and additives, but accelerated traction is needed not only for the sake of Goal 14 but other SDG's as well.

The second challenge -- reduced regulatory oversight -- is, I realize, all to obvious now that our new president is proposing a 20+% reduction in the Environmental Protection Agency budget and at the same time a deregulatory tailwind for petroleum-based products, but how can I not mention that in response to your question?    

Christopher Cox's picture

Christopher Cox replied:

Hi Steven. had a quick scan of the Plastics Scorecard...quite interesting!  Maybe share how industry is using it with some examples?  Or maybe point readers to where there are good case examples.

Marine Pollution Discussions - Question 2

What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.1?

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Ahmad H. Abu Hilal's picture

Ahmad H. Abu Hilal said:

More comprehensive and intensive efforts on sustainable educational and awareness programmes on the local and regional scales by local, regional and international authorities and agencies. 

Rodrigo García Píngaro's picture

Rodrigo García ... said:

Llamar a la acción de la ciudadanía mediante soluciones que toquen sus vidas, su cotidiano, las necesidades de las comunidades. Haciendo que personas famosas, líderes reconocidos lleven adelante la acción.

Alcanzar la masa crítica de la ciudadanía. Una Olimpíada de salvar los océanos...

Que los grupos y solistas musicales se interesen, Unicef de los mares... los actores, así como Pierce Brosnan, Leo Di Caprio y otros lo hacen...

Arjan van Houwelingen's picture

Arjan van Houwe... said:

Prioritization in the Marine Pollution debate

When discussing the issue of marine pollution, our natural inclination has been to focus attention almost entirely on pollution originating from land-based sources as this is the source of close to 80 percent of all marine debris. Even the language of target 14.1 betrays this preference. However, we would question whether quantity the best determinant for prioritization of action and attention, particularly as our overall aim is to sustainably enhance the health and productivity of our oceans.

An alternate approach to prioritization of action would be to differentiate or rank different types of marine debris in relation to its relative impact on ocean health and productivity. The issue of abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) or ‘ghost fishing gear’ as it was referred to in the most recent General Assembly resolution on sustainable fisheries is a good example of this. According to the FAO and UNEP, ghost fishing gear makes up about 10 percent of all marine debris yet it is, by far, the deadliest form of marine debris. Recent studies by the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s in-house science service, Ocean Conservancy and others indicate that ghost fishing gear is 4 times more likely to impact on marine life, through entanglement, than all other forms of marine debris combined.

With reports showing that 45 percent of all marine mammal species on the IUCN Red List have been affected by lost or abandoned fishing gear, it is clear that ghost gear is a major biodiversity concern. Also, while generalization is difficult as individual studies focus on specific species in particular geographic areas, there is an increasing consensus that ghost fishing gear is directly responsible for a 10 percent decline in fish stock levels globally. This is the second most dominant cause of fish stock decline after overfishing.

Moreover, as ghost fishing gear is often made from plastic and other non-degradable materials that eventually disintegrates, it acts as the source of around 10-15 percent of all marine micro plastics which potentially threatens the health of all marine life and, by extension, human health as plastic particles and chemicals become part of the food chain.

Therefore, if ocean productivity, in terms of quantity, quality and safety, is a serious concern then ghost fishing gear must be at, or near, the top of our priority list.

Alternatively, if we determine priority based on a differentiation by ease of action or likely success of action, keeping in mind that maintaining momentum in the implementation of SDG 14 is paramount and therefore early success is essential, we again find that ghost fishing gear must be at the top of our priority list.

Thanks to the 2009 FAO/UNEP study we already know what action needs to be taken to both prevent fishing gear from being lost or discarded and how existing ghost gear can be removed. Through the annual Sustainable Fisheries resolution, all UN Member States have already committed to taking urgent action and implement the FAO/UNEP recommendations. Effective action on ghost fishing gear is policy-heavy and means of implementation-light. And, with the launch of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) in September 2015 there is now a multi-stakeholder public-private partnership through which action on ghost gear can be coordinated and which can act as a clearing house for information, knowledge, capacity-building and technology exchange.

In conclusion, whereas prioritizing land-based sources of marine debris appears to be a logical choice because of the size of the problem, alternate approaches to prioritization suggest that the issue of ALDFG or ghost fishing gear must be recognized as an issue where action can be taken quickly and where success will have a distinct and substantial impact on the achievement of SDG 14.

Anne Mäusbacher's picture

Anne Mäusbacher said:

- official kids education program in school about marine litter: mandatory program in all countries, regardless if close to water/sea, to raise the awareness about plastic pollution worldwide and at home and achieve immediate change in shopping behavior (more on www.beachcleaner.de). education means as well investment, eg. Kids need to get access to alternatives, as refill waterbottles, if the alternative is not there, how can they switch from PET bottles to stainless steel or glas..

- beach clean ups need to happen everywhere and with all age groups (kids, adults)

- onsite recycling options need to be in place to eliminate the amount of trash in high polluted areas (Mumbai)

- ban on plastic toys

- ban on single use plastic items (see San Francisco, or France)

- ban on plastic bags worldwide, there are eco friendly solutions out there

- push CSR/EPR, producers, brands need to take back the plastic packaging/trash and recycle (mandatory, maybe in context of incentives, tax advantage, etc..)

- push eco innovations, companys need to get messured in the future by eco innovations and have to invest certain amount of profit in reseach, development and take real actions/production (no green washing). urgently needed filters for fibres/microbeeds in washing machine etc.

- government need to support and push trough new laws and regulations to stop the use of virgin plastic in new productions, otherwhise nothing will change

Roger Erismann's picture

Roger Erismann said:

Things we can do – Enable people :

  1. Go upstream: We all know that the trash comes from land based sources.  The focus on the Ocean has distanced the problem from a large portion of the population.  And shifted responsibility to coastal areas
  2. Formally adopt a protocol to quantify beachlitter:  OSPAR and NOAA have done great work adopt one of the two.  Gerorg Hanke at the JRC just released the technical bulletin for freshwater
  3. Train people in that protocol:  Enable people to quantify their observations at their level
  4. Use the adopted protocol:  Create regional websites that allow people to compare regions and locations
  5. Standardize reporting:  Create an automated reporting system so that communities across the globe are receiving the same information in the same format
  6. Use the results:  Celebrate communities that have the best results and show improvement.  Create a rating scheme based only on trash density.
  7. Finance proven methods:  Storm water filters, riparian catchment areas that can be easily cleaned etc… and apply steps 3-6
  8. Pay people:  Stop relying on volunteers to clean up this mess.  Allow for budgets that encourage people and associations to get out there and quantify
  9. Finance: community activists, PHDs, and non-mechanical filtration methods

The bottom line is the more you distance us from the problem the less likely we are to participate.

Create competition by open and objective measurements.  Nobody wants to have the dirtiest beach on the planet !  The innovations will follow

Some things you need to stop doing:

Stop supporting large money wasting (Corporate supported) research projects:  Thousands of people all over the world pick trash up off the beach we don’t need another project supported by an oil company (unless it does the first 9 list items)

Stop bending to economic pressure:  The innovative solution will present itself once we start taking care of business and more people are involved.  You need a critical mass of activity before real innovation happens.

Stop focusing on countries like India and Indonesia:  I have met more environmentally conscious people from India than my hometown.  Something tells me if we take a closer look at population density, income, education, GDP and infrastructure Europe and North America don’t have a lot to be proud of

Qualification of our experience:  we are a small association that has completed over 160 beach litter surveys on Lake Geneva, Switzerland in the past two years (we are starting our third year now).  We formalized our approach by adopting the OSPAR protocol and the MLW classification system starting in year two, we produced a detailed document that compares beach litter density and composition on Lake Geneva with beaches in the OSPAR region (80 surveys and 27’790 pieces of shoreline debris).

The summary results are here "The log normal distribution of beach litter density":


The complete analysis is here (protocol, history, other associations, analysis methods, brief intro to litter and Swiss regulations):


Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon said:

One of the topics to address : fibers from textiles in the marine environment 


From website Plastic Soup Foundation

'These are the shocking interim results of an EU funded project Life+ Program: Mermaids, Ocean Clean Wash (www.life-mermaids.eu). For nearly three years, the National Research Council (NCR) from Italy, LEITAT and Polysistec from Spain, and the Dutch Plastic Soup Foundation have worked together to look for causes and solutions.'

Campaign video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8OZ_6YwTUE

Roger Spranz's picture

Roger Spranz said:

I suggest approches evolving around four main pillars:

Let me start with the one most of you may not be familiar with

(1) Behavioral Interventions: If goverments cannot (due to lack of institutional capacities) or do not want to (political reasons) implement proven policies (like bans or fees) Behavioral interventions are a very promising alternative. What behavioral interventions basically do is providing psycholgy based nudges to softly influence and support behavior change. Examples are moral, social and indirect or direct financial incentives. Who can use this? NGOs, businesses, environmental groups etc

I have conducted my PhD research on reducing plastic bag use in Indonesia, and tested behavioral interventions in two different field experiments. I targeted to encourage the use of reusable bags. You can read more about the research results here: http://makingoceansplasticfree.com/category/research/

(2) Governmental Policies: Bans or fees on certain pollution causing packaging (e.g. plastic bags) are a very effective tool in well functioning and politically conducive policy environments

(3) Awareness Campaigns: Environmental Education, whether in schools or in campaigns are essential to support pro environmental behavior by the people. High awareness by the people puts pressure on a)  a pro enviornmental response by businesses which to make their packaging and production processes more environmentally friendly, and b) a higher relevance on pro environmental policies to the government

(4) Innovation: If there are no alternatives to the polluting practices or products, it will be hard to bring change. The easier it will be, if there are well designed, functional and appealing alternatives. Research for innovating alternative eco friendly solutions should therefore be supported by governments, NGOs, business and others.

Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon replied:

@Roger Spranz

Hello Roger, thanks so much for your comments and all information. I will share the link on IWP forum.

Regarding paying for bags: a trial by Ministry of Environment was done in a number of cities and they evaluated and did not yet implement again. There were issues: mistrust with consumers regarding where the money was going. In 2 weeks the Minsitry will be here in Holland by invitation of the Dutch ministry of Environment and I am involved in organising some events for that mission : will ask their planning about this. 

And the girls of Bye Bye Plastic Bags are doing a great job ! We keep sharing their news on IWP forum for inspiration :)

During this mission development of Circular Economy is high on the agenda.

in 2016 we had a number of seminars and conferences in Jakarta - stalkeholders attending from all sectors, government, companies, representatieves of recycling industry, chairmans of the Indonesian Packaging Industry,  KADIN - chaiman of the chamber of commerce , UN Global Compact, NGO - at all events round table discussions. Human behavious change, the ban of bags and other disposables and re-thinking single use packaging high on the agenda.

Ministry for Maritime Affairs is actively campaigning : Gerakan Budaya Bersih dan Senyum (GBBS) http://maritimnews.com/bersama-kemenko-maritim-apmi-lakukan-sosialisasi-...

Some other campaigns - speerheaded by a young group of innovative activists on Java - one of the initiators is Sano ( FB : Mohamad Bijaksana Junerosano) - they are also attending 





Regarding education: we have a program for primary schools: Green Indonesia - we lobby for inclusion in the national curriculum - please see this link. https://www.facebook.com/Indonesia-Hijau-Green-Indonesia-Program-pendidi...

The books are now in Ministry of Environment and going on to Ministry of Education. Continuous lobby. The program incudes 3-day teacher training, one topic in the training is on establishing school waste banks and motivating schools to join the ADIWIYATA program http://www.menlh.go.id/informasi-mengenai-adiwiyata/

Thanks again for the link, I will share on https://www.facebook.com/groups/210686719277064/

Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon said:

One more suggestion specifically for Indonesia:

A translated version of the MOOC on Marine Litter to Bahasa Indonesia. I participated in the first MOOC. Many Indonesian stakeholders cannot participate in the English version due to language barrier.

Thank you.

Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon said:

Moving towards reducing the use of 1-portion and single-use packaging / development of circular economy / alternatives for water from plastic bottles (no drinkable tap water available) / promote the ban on plastic shopping bags / promote EPR regarding packaging (based on the Greman model) 

Specifically for Indonesia :

As another priority I see realising Indonesian Waste Challenge - an event to bring together all relevant players from all regions in Indonesia, in collaboration with stakeholders from outside Indonesia - supporting with expertise. This includes stakeholders from government (all levels and relevant minsitries and departments) - academia - companies and grass roots/community initiatives.


- To facilitate the forming of a commonshared vision and strategy - with guidance of frameworks The Honolulu Strategy, The Global Outlook on Waste Management, the National Action Plan draft by Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and existing policies

- Forming of action plans short term and longterm

- Capacity building short courses of stakeholders 

- Exhibition of technical solutions and learning materials

In next question will explain about some of some current developments 

Willemijn Peeters's picture

Willemijn Peeters said:

Call for Actions include:

- a tool to be used by companies to address plastics usage within the company and value chain. Make it stupid simple to use.

- a visible campaign to raise awareness among consumers about the major sources of their plastic pollution to the ocean.

- a new standard in packaging.

- a ban on single-use of plastics.

- a ban on the use of virgin plastics.

Ider Batbayar's picture

Ider Batbayar said:

Ocean provides so many good benefits for eveyone in the world including some of the oxygen we all breath. Healthy ocean is important for everyone in the world. Then there's a gap of awareness about many of these goodness Ocean bless us. To this end, what can be done better to nurture more awareness so that it helps more and more people and organizations realize their role in helping to save our oceans?

Fredrik Haag's picture

Fredrik Haag replied:

Hi Ider, thanks for your comment! Indeed awareness is crucial, and initiatives like this can play an important part. On our part, we take capacity building and training of the maritime community very seriously. /Fredrik

Fredrik Haag's picture

Fredrik Haag said:

“Welcome to the online forum on addressing marine pollution in advance of the SDG-14 Ocean Conference that will take place in June of this year. We are very pleased to be moderating this discussion and look forward to hearing from you. 

We are interested in receiving your contributions on how the global community can respond to reducing the menace of marine pollution from the level of the citizen, all the way to government.  Please feel free to make your inputs on one or all of the questions we have posed here.  Under Question 2, we are interested in learning about what you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.1?     

This forum will remain open until 24th March and we will monitor the inputs and provide moderation to ensure the discussion effectively feeds makes a substantive input to be carried to the Conference in June.  Summaries of the responses will be compiled at the end of the discussion period and posted on the platform. 

Your voice matters!  Make it count as the global community converges in June 2017 to commit to action to realize Sustainable Development Goal 14 to sustain Life Below Water for our and future generations!" 

Sarah S's picture

Sarah S replied:

  • Providing incentives: In the Philippines, recyclables can be sold to junk shops, providing a small amount of supplemental income. Organizing students and People's Organizations to collect and sell recyclables as groups could aid in providing income and in reducing waste
  • Education/awareness raising: especially in those communities dependent on the sea. Educating fisherfolk about effects of pollution/other marine problems, and training them to educate others

Marine Pollution Discussions - Question 3

Please share any innovative partnerships - existing or proposed - aimed at combatting marine pollution that you are aware of or involved in, that could be launched at the June Ocean Conference and can advance effective actions from local to global levels.

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Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon said:

Herewith sharing draft of concept for Indonesian Waste Monitoring & Database  multi-sector collaboration

Rodrigo García Píngaro's picture

Rodrigo García ... said:

Creamos Una pagina en la Red social Facebook Red de Avistaje de Ballenas y Delfines, Donde más de 9 mil de Miembros se han unido para Localizar y defender los cetáceos y Hábitat do. Un país con 3 Millones de Habitantes, 9000 Es Una cifra Significativa.

Por Esa Red se ha Logrado fiscalizar y sancionar a Las Personas Que No Cumplen con la reglamentación de Protección de Cetáceos (Decreto 261/002) en el marco de la ley 19.128 del SANTUARIO DE BALLENAS Y DELFINES EN AGUAS Y Uruguayas ZEE.

Crear Redes Más Específicas Donde la gente se Sienta una instancia de parte, se interese Porque Quieren ver cetáceos salvajes en libertad, y Quieren Proteger los mares.

Una Aplicación sencilla de este sistema de mejorando seria complementaria y Útil para identificar las especies, Situaciones denunciar, georreferenciadas, Yendo a la autoridad actuante directamente.

Que los Niños y Jóvenes lleven las Propuestas al Parlamento para la marina gestión, denuncias del SUS, ejerciendo gobernanza y ciudadanía, empoderándose de Sus Recursos.

Asi fue gestado El Santuario en Uruguay, Ellos Mismos Llevando la Propuesta de Ley Que Fue promulgada en El año de 2013.

Arjan van Houwelingen's picture

Arjan van Houwe... said:

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is a multi-stakeholder public-private partnership committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide. It aims to improve the health of marine ecosystems, protect marine animals, and safeguard human health and livelihoods.

Ghost gear poses a very real threat to marine animals. Abandoned, lost and discarded nets, lines and traps are, demonstrably, the biggest threats to our sea life. This gear traps, injures, mutilates and kills hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, turtles and birds annually.

  • At least 1 million seals, sea lions and large whales are entangled by ghost gear each year with approximately 136,000 killed each year
  • 640,000 tonnes of gear per year = 90,000 double decker buses
  • 10 percent decline in global fish stock levels due to ghost gear

To find solutions to this problem the GGGI operates across three working groups: 1) building evidence and gathering data to create a global picture of the problem; 2) defining the best practice guidelines of exactly how to deal with fishing gear, at all stages of its life, within the supply chain; and 3) creating solutions projects, which can be scaled and replicated across the globe.

The GGGI’s strength lies in the diversity of the GGGI’s participants including the fishing industry, the private sector, academia, governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations. The GGGI’s engagement with the UN and involvement in solutions on-the-ground means that we are mitigating the risk posed by ghost gear locally, regionally and globally.

All organisations interested in collectively developing and implementing economically viable, sustainable solutions towards safer, cleaner oceans are invited to join the GGGI.  More information can be found at www.ghostgear.org.


Peter Kershaw's picture

Peter Kershaw replied:

Dear Arjan

Thank you for bringing readers' attention to the GGGI. This is such a good example of special interest groups, NGOs, public bodies and private enterprise collaborating to create tangible benefits for the environment and, just as importantly, for society. It is truly global and can be scaled up or down as appropriate. The website is very well put together. I have used the example of the GGGI many times in presentations, and it was featured in the UNEP 2016 report for the UNEA-2

thanks again


Hermien Busschbach's picture

Hermien Busschbach said:

The policy measures to combat Marine Pollution in the Dutch policy Document North Sea (2016-2021) also include what we call “green deals”.

Green Deal initiative was born in 2011 and implies cooperation between ’social partners’. The goal of the Green Deal instrument is to make use of the innovative energy on sustainable growth that is already present in society.

We have several green deals on Marine litter:

  1. Coastal communities, entrepreneurs (e.g. owners of business on beaches), volunteers and social organizations signed the Clean Beaches Green Deal on 20 November 2014. This agreement shows how the various parties are working to reduce waste on beaches and bring about more sustainable beach management, and establishes concrete new actions and targets for 2020.
  2. The Shipping Waste Chain Green Deal was signed with chain parties in shipping on 10 September 2014. This entails port authorities, ship owners, ship suppliers, managers of port reception facilities, the North Sea Foundation and the Central Government making concrete agreements to close the maritime waste cycle. The instigator of the Green Deal is the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.
  3. The Fisheries Green Deal for a Clean North Sea sees the fisheries sector joining forces with other parties (the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, ports, waste processing firms, etc.) to look for ways to close the waste cycle, and in doing so to prevent waste ending up in the sea. The Green Deal was signed on 20 November 2014. One of its fundamental principles is that operational and domestic waste from fishing vessels will be handed over onshore in 2020.

This information can be found in section 4.2 (p.75-79) at:  https://www.noordzeeloket.nl/images/Policy%20Document%20on%20the%20North%20Sea%202016-2021%20(download)_4895.pdf

Peter Kershaw's picture

Peter Kershaw replied:

Dear Hermione

Thank you for providing a summary and link to the Netherlands' initiative on Green Deals, as they relate to marine litter. This is a good example of the sort of comprehensive set of measures that will be required by governments in order to bring about significant reductions in the introduction and impacts of marine litter. It is encouraging to see how different business/industry sectors are working with both central and local government to produce effective and acceptible solutions

John Davis's picture

John Davis said:

The MarineDebris.Info (MDI) listserv is the global discussion forum on marine litter science, management, and prevention -- with members worldwide and over 1200 posts in the past three years. It is a thriving community of practice.

Solving the problem of ocean plastics will require institutions and communities -- from local to global levels -- to share information, learn from each other, and develop solutions together, including robust advocacy campaigns.

To address that need, MDI and other leading partners in the marine litter community are co-developing a project to build and manage a comprehensive and user-friendly web platform on marine litter. It is designed to be the "one-stop shop" for ocean plastic news, guidance, best practice, and networking.

The project has three goals:

  • Information Provision: Providing the marine litter field with news, data, expert guidance, and other resources to help them do their work more knowledgeably and efficiently;

  • Content Development: Generating new, regular, and high-value content for the field, including but not limited to webinars, text-based chats, interviews with experts, press releases on emerging issues, live-streamed conferences, best practice guidance, and multimedia content; and

  • Network Support: Convening the respective expertise and constituencies of the project’s partners to design and build the platform, oversee its operation, and actively build a combined community of marine litter practitioners and stakeholders.

MarineDebris.Info is an initiative of the broader OpenChannels web platform. Each year OpenChannels sites serve more than 50,000 ocean managers and conservationists with news, analysis, literature, online events, and more. Other OpenChannels initiatives include:

Peter Kershaw's picture

Peter Kershaw replied:

John, thank you for raising the profile of the MarineDebris listserv. As a user of both this and the EBM tools network I have first-hand experience of how useful and effective these services are for disseminating information and acting as a discussion hub. When so much is going on in the field of marine debris it is very difficult for any one individual to keep track and tools such as the Marine Debris listserv become increasingly useful. The three goals of information provision, content development and network support are very worthy and I wish you every success in pursuing them, as well as encourging the wider community to contribute to its success

Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon said:

From PET-bottle to PEF-bottle 

Dutch company Avantium from 15 March listed on the stock market. With the investments Avantium plans to build a new factory - in collaboration with BASF - to produce the bottles of the future. The bottle will be produced WITHOUT oil, it will be produced from sugars from plants.

Publication in Dutch https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/03/06/chemiebedrijf-avantium-op-15-maart-...

Tom Bruulsema's picture

Tom Bruulsema said:

An excellent example of a public-private collaboration addressing the loss of nutrients from agriculture impacting the marine environment can be found in the Lake Erie watershed. The 4R Nutrient Stewardship concept has been implemented as a certification program, with criteria designed to reduce the losses of nutrients linked to algal blooms and hypoxia in the lake. More information can be found in a recent article in Better Crops, supported by a publication in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.



Tom Bruulsema, International Plant Nutrition Institute

Peter Kershaw's picture

Peter Kershaw replied:

Hi Tom

This does seem to be a really good example of a public-private partnership, initiated in response to a significant ecological, social and economic problem (Harmful Algal Blooms) resulting from inappropriate use of fertilisers on farmland. Clearly this is a complex socio-ecological situation, a classic 'wicked' problem (multiple stakeholders, multiple factors, conflicting interests, many alternative partial solutions, potential winners and losers .....), and it is encouraging to see how the farming and conservation communities worked togeter with other interested parties to create a viable management programme. Thanks for the sharing the links.

Yuri Obst's picture

Yuri Obst said:

When knowing the solution to wastewater is clear (no pun, simply literal) at http://touchline.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/cop/issue22/68-1 the reality of the problem truly is "Does anyone care enough to implement a simple one-step solution that is already commercially available for the benefit foremost of the environment?" Only time will tell - Two Years and still pushing hard at https://twitter.com/ObstYuri and www.baleen.com/news

Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon said:

Partnerships / collaborationsIndonesian Waste Platform - link to website http://www.indonesianwaste.org/en/home/
link to IWP newsletter 2016 - http://us14.campaign-archive1.com/?u=2f96859a3468c17b84da140ce&id=8431e0...
Connecting stakeholders and supporting partnerships basically on a daily basis, responding to requests from stakeholders

Development of Indonesian Waste Monitoring & Database - concept developed by IWP - collaboration with Indonesian ministries and researchers from CSIRO, University of Twente, Jenna Jambeck, APEX, University of Indonesia and other stakeholders, concept will be shared shortly - some aspects: data collection to international standards, development of protocols, citizin science, education

MoU Indonesian - Dutch ministries of Environment - link to Trash to Treasure Seminar report on meeting Jakarta November 2016 

Collaboration DANIDA, Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and the World Bank ( hosted the First National Marine Plastics Summit Nov 2016)

End-March 2017 delegation from Indonesian government and non-government stakeholders will visit the Netherlands - further development of collaborations for Waste solutions - this mission will include Min Environment and Maritime Affairs 

Peter Kershaw's picture

Peter Kershaw replied:

Dear Nina

Thank you very much for providing links to this Indonesian intiative. I was fortunate to attend a G20 workshop on marine litter this week (7-8 March) in Hamburg Germany. All the participants were inpressed and inspired by what we leaned (especially from World Bank, Netherlands and CSIRO representatives) about the remarkable success of efforts to reduce the introduction of plastics into the ocean in many Indonesian cities, especialy Jakarta - the 'before' and 'after' photographs were extraodinary!

I would strongly encourage readers to learn more about what is happening in Indonesia. A 400+ page Action Plan is to be released quite soon. This will include consideration of fisheries-related issues too so promises to be comprehensive, and perhaps provide an examplar for other other

Nina van Toulon's picture

Nina van Toulon replied:

Dear Peter, Thank.

Yes wonderful so much is going on in Indonesia. I have that draft of the Action Plan here, much in line with The Honolulu Strategy  - adapted to Indonesian situation.  With IWP we are asked to give input . One input is the establishment of Indonesian Waste Monitoring & Database, working on that together with Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs - Team IV. We are almost ready with concept and will share in a few days.

We encouraged more stakeholders from Indonesia to join these discussions here :) 

Kind regards, Nina

Willemijn Peeters's picture

Willemijn Peeters said:

Together with IUCN I have set up an 'Ocean and Plastics Platform'. It's a platform for companies to take part in and take measurable and decisive actions to 'Close the Plastic Tap'. Together with scientists and NGO's, we help companies to take action.

In the Netherlands, I am setting up Plastic Coops, on a local scale, with several companies at a time. Goal is to help companies achieve a business without plastic waste. By pooling knowledge and expertise in materials and product redesign, companies can close the plastic loop. So not use virgin plastics any more.

This whole network of Plastic Coops is run by Searious Business, to showcase how it can be done. I hope this can be a model for a great number of places in the world (like energy coops are now widespread).

Peter Kershaw's picture

Peter Kershaw replied:

Dear Willemijn

Many thanks for sharing the news about these great initiatives, both combining raising awareness with encouraging innovative solutions to reduce marine litter, and operating over local and international scales.

I encourage other readers to visit these sites: http://oceansandplastics.info/about-us/  AND  https://www.seariousbusiness.com/


Peter Kershaw's picture

Peter Kershaw said:

“Welcome to the online forum on addressing marine pollution in advance of the SDG-14 Ocean Conference that will take place in June of this year. We are very pleased to be moderating this discussion and look forward to hearing from you. 

We are interested in receiving your contributions on how the global community can respond to reducing the menace of marine pollution from the level of the citizen, all the way to government.  Please feel free to make your inputs on one or all of the questions we have posed here.  Under Question 3, we are interested in identifying innovative partnerships that can foster solutions to those tough problems involving communities, the public and private sectors.   How might we pay for efforts to clean up our marine environment, and stop pollution entering our oceans in the first place, and make our efforts sustainable in the long run?  What might be our Calls for Action at the Conference in June?   

This forum will remain open until 24th March and we will monitor the inputs and provide moderation to ensure the discussion effectively feeds makes a substantive input to be carried to the Conference in June.  Summaries of the responses will be compiled at the end of the discussion period and posted on the platform. 

Your voice matters!  Make it count as the global community converges in June 2017 to commit to action to realize Sustainable Development Goal 14 to sustain Life Below Water for our and future generations!" 

Sarah S's picture

Sarah S replied:

In the Philippines, grassroots organization is required to address solid waste management and plastic pollution in the oceans. The schools provide a great audience for environmental education (especially related to waste reduction) and for small-scale solid waste management projects that could potentially be scaled up. Many schools in the Philippines have MRFs (municipal recovery facilities), where trash is segregated and stored. An example of a project is an ecobank, where students bring recyclables to their school’s MRF. The school partners with a junk shop which buys the recyclables. Part of the income goes directly to the individual students that bring in trash, and part of the income goes to the school. This is an ongoing activity that can  reduce residual waste, provide opportunities for environmental education, and provide a small supplemental income for students and for school needs. 

Peter Kershaw's picture

Peter Kershaw replied:

Sarah, this is a great example of a community-level project that can be scaled up by schools copying good practice in education and waste management and spreading from a local to a regional initiative. It not only shows that individuals and small communities (i.e. schools) can make a difference, but also demonstrates that waste can have a value, so providing a motivation other than 'feeling good' about making an effort. This should appeal to all ages!