Single-use plastics and fishing gear: Reducing marine litter [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Didier Bourguignon (1st edition),

Marine pollution: plastic waste on the beach.

© Arcansél / Fotolia

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year.

In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding the top 10 single-use plastics found on European beaches, as well as fishing gear, with a view to reducing their impact on the environment and ensuring a functional internal market.

In the European Parliament, the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) is considering the proposal. The Environment Council discussed the proposal on 25 June 2018.


Marine litter on EU beaches, by count (2016)

Marine litter on EU beaches, by count (2016)

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