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An update on recent reports and initiatives about marine litter and microplastics waste issues

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7. Is a global assessment of micro-plastics in the marine environment necessary?

    A global assessment of micro-plastics impact on the marine environment could be beneficial at this time and there is both sufficient public concern and a need to provide further objective information on the topic to enable policy makers to act. This assessment would need to take into account not just micro plastics but marine litter in general also, in order to understand the general context and processes involved.

    The participants recognised that with limited resources available, politicians, administrations and the plastics industry would understandably give priority to redressing the overriding problem of marine litter and its socio-economic impacts.

    A primary motivation for a global assessment is the growth in the production of plastics, slow-progress in introducing practices of management to treat solid waste around the world and the continued, if not increased, input of plastics to marine habitats. It is important to understand their degradation and fragmentation, how these fragments behave and how they affect the environment. The possibility that micro-plastics could act as significant transporter for contaminants also needs to be addressed since it is as yet unclear if it is the case. More...

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