The latest guidance on national planning issued by GloLitter Partnerships project has been published. The two newly launched guides are designed to help countries in their efforts to prevent and reduce sea-based marine plastic litter (SBMPL).
Disposal of “persistent plastics and other persistent synthetic materials” is prohibited under both the London Convention and its Protocol. A high proportion of any marine litter present in wastes dumped at sea under the London Convention/Protocol (LC/LP) would comprise plastics, and various types of small and micro-sized plastics present the greatest hazards and warrant most concern. This includes the following LC/LP waste streams:
- Dredged materials – by and large the primary material disposed at sea.
- Sewage sludge – gradually being phased out and prohibited in many countries.
- Vessels (including fiberglass vessels), platforms, or other man-made structures at sea, and bulky items – could contain a large amount of plastic material.
- Spoilt cargoes (organic and inorganic materials) – packaging discarded at sea along with the spoilt cargo (prohibited).
The GloLitter Partnerships is a project between the Government of Norway, IMO and FAO aiming to reduce marine litter. The global project supports developing countries, including Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), in identifying opportunities for the prevention and reduction of marine litter.
Guidance Document on the Country Status Assessment on Sea-Based Marine Plastic Litter
The Guidance Document on the Country Status Assessment on SBMPL focuses on how to prepare a detailed Country Status Assessment on marine plastic litter. The guide includes an overview of the international legislative frameworks that prevent and reduce SBMPL from ships and wastes as defined by MARPOL Annex V and the LC/LP, as well as the relevant Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) codes and guidelines. The FAO – a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger – is a GloLitter Joint Implementing Partner.
Key questions for countries
- Is there an overarching national policy addressing waste management and in particular marine (plastic) litter?
- Are there legal/legislative frameworks in place to effectively implement and enforce existing international, regional, and national requirements related to preventing and reducing marine plastic litter from sea-based sources?
- Are port reception facilities (PRFs) adequate, and, integrated into the national waste management system within a comprehensive waste management plan?
- Is there sufficient human, institutional and operational capacity, information access and resources to implement the policy or legislative frameworks?
- Is there effective institutional cooperation and capacity at national level as well as at regional and international levels?
Guidance Document on Development of National Action Plan on Sea-Based Marine Plastic Litter
Advice on how to prepare a National Action Plan (NAP) to reduce and prevent marine plastic litter is contained in the Guidance Document on Development of National Action Plan (NAP) on SBMPL. The document is designed to help a country prepare an NAP tailored to its circumstances by addressing gaps, priorities and needs to better prevent and reduce MPL from the maritime and fisheries sectors identified in the Country Status Assessment.
The guide highlights that it will be important to identify the various types of actions needed to be taken, the priority level, as well as a proposed timetable to guide the achievement of these actions.
Actions could include:
- general awareness-raising
- additional national assessments
- additional policy-making and action planning
- developing and adopting national legislative frameworks and their implementation
- more effective implementation and enforcement of existing international regulatory frameworks
- provision of advanced port reception facilities (PRFs) in line with their national waste management objectives
- linking to regional cooperation agreements on MPL management
- policies promoting product substitution
- gear modifications trials
- gear marking trials
- development/piloting of fishing for litter programs
The NAP itself should include the policy context of the work it proposes to be undertaken in the coming years and should include a brief introduction that sets the objectives, the geographical scope, principles and approaches that should frame the implementation. The actions to be undertaken could be grouped in themes as follows:
- actions related to the legal, policy and enforcement reforms needed to effectively reduce plastic litter from sea-based sources;
- actions regarding the removal of existing plastic litter from the marine environment, such as ALDFG or plastic waste from fishing operations; and
- actions related education and outreach on the topic of MPL.
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