litter (debris) includes all objects that do not naturally
occur in the marine and coastal environment but are
nevertheless found there.
Marine litter is the collective term for any man-made
object present in the marine and coastal environment.
Marine litter consists of articles that have been made
or used by people and, subsequently, deliberately discarded
or accidentally lost. In most cases, it is the result
of careless handling or disposal of items of solid waste,
including containers of liquid waste. However, it can
also be material lost at sea in hard weather (fishing
Marine litter consists of mostly very slowly degradable
waste items items made of persistent materials
such as plastic, polystyrene, metals and glass
from a large number of different sources.
Marine litter can blow around, remain floating on the
water surface; drift in the water column; get entangled
on shallow, tidal bottoms; or sink to the deeper seabed.
Marine litter are items and material that are either
discarded directly (thrown or lost directly into the
sea); brought indirectly to the sea with rivers, sewage,
storm water or winds; or left by people on beaches and
litter is found everywhere, around the world, in the
marine and coastal environment.
Marine litter is found floating
on the water surface. Almost
90 per cent of floating marine debris is plastic.
Marine litter is found mixed in the water column.
Marine litter is found on the seabed. It
could be that as much as 70 per cent of the entire input
of marine litter sinks to the bottom and is found on
the seabed, both in shallow coastal areas and in much
deeper parts of seas and oceans.
litter is found lying on beaches and shores.
to reduce or prevent marine litter are part of a larger
issue which concerns each and everyone that of
waste management in society as a whole. People who are
waste wise in general, and who realize that waste is
a common problem and not one that "someone else"
should take care of, will have the same responsible
attitude towards the handling of waste that could end
up as marine litter.
offshore platforms, pleasure craft:
Efforts should, first of all, be made to reduce the
generation of waste onboard ships and platforms. Waste
management plans are needed for larger vessels and platforms,
and preparations for proper waste management should
be made in advance also by those onboard smaller vessels
and pleasure craft. Waste should be stored onboard and
discharged ashore in a proper reception facility. However,
this requires adequate space
onboard for storage, and the provision of reception
facilities in all commercial harbours and marinas. It
also calls for harmonized regional and global regulations
to avoid that harbours/marinas are not equipped to take
care of the waste and/or that
they cause ships undue delay in port. Also, ships
should not be deterred from discharging waste to port
reception facilities due to high costs, complicated
procedures, unnecessary paperwork, excessive sanitary
regulations, customs regulations, etc. Furthermore,
coastal municipalities must make sure that the waste
left in reception facilities is properly taken care
of on land, in a manner that is optimal in terms of
caring for the environment and human health the
management chain must not be broken.
Efforts should be made to reduce the generation of waste
onboard, and preparations should be made for storage
of waste onboard until one comes ashore. Fishing gear,
particularly drift nets, should be marked to make it
possible to find them again if they are lost at sea.
No fishing gear should ever be deliberately discarded
but taken ashore for proper disposal.
landfills and sewage
Coastal communities/municipalities and those along rivers
should make sure that open landfills for household waste
as well as industrial waste are eliminated, as part
of their overall waste management strategy. Sewage treatment,
in adequately equipped facilities, should be a priority
Sewage-related waste should never be flushed
down the toilet but treated as any other kind of household
waste. And household waste should be sorted and taken
proper care of. Again, societal waste management begins
All beaches and camping grounds should be sufficiently
equipped with waste bins to cater for the needs of visitors
using these locations. However, people should preferably
always take home their own trash and make sure that
it is properly sorted and disposed of for maximum recycling.
If you are capable of carrying the full containers and
bottles with you to the beach, surely you can carry
them with you home when they are empty.