NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter

Over the last 4 years of addressing the marine litter problem, the NOWPAP member states have made outstanding efforts on improving the marine litter management at the national level as well as on promoting regional cooperation through NOWPAP partners in the region.

 

 

Busan/Toyama, 18 October 2010

NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter

 

Group photos with participants from China, Japan, Korea and Russia in NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup campaign in Hirado, Japan, 28 March 2010. Photography by NOWPAP RCU.

Group photos with participants from China, Japan, Korea and Russia in NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup campaign in Hirado, Japan, 28 March 2010. Photography by NOWPAP RCU.

 

Sangjin LEE

NOWPAP was established in 1994, as a part of UNEP Regional Seas Programme, by four member states: People’s Republic of China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation. NOWPAP member states decided to address marine litter problem in November 2005, when Marine Littler Activity (MALITA) was launched.  During two years of MALITA implementation (2006-2007), the following actions were taken: collection and review of existing data and information on marine litter, including legal aspects; establishment of marine litter database; organization of regional meetings and workshops to share such information as well as to build common understanding of the marine litter issue; development and implementation of a long-term monitoring programme; development of sectoral guidelines for the management of marine litter focusing on fishing, shipping and tourism; raising public awareness; approaching the civil society, including private sector, NGOs and the general public, and development of a regional action plan on marine litter.  MALITA has been successfully implemented under the overall coordination of the NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) in close cooperation with the four NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres (RACs), the marine litter focal points in the four member states and the UNEP Regional Seas Programme.

 

Marine debris, including abandoned ropes and fishing nets, collected from NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup campaign in Hirado, Japan, 28 March 2010. Photography by NOWPAP RCU.

Marine debris, including abandoned ropes and fishing nets, collected from NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup campaign in Hirado, Japan, 28 March 2010. Photography by NOWPAP RCU.

 

As the second phase of the NOWPAP activities on marine litter, NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI) was launched in 2008 after its approval by member states.  Within RAP MALI, activities are implemented under three major themes with focus on national actions:  1) prevention of marine litter input to the marine and coastal environment; 2) monitoring of marine litter quantities and distribution; and 3) removing existing marine litter and its disposal.  Sectoral guidelines developed during the MALITA implementation were translated into the national languages and distributed. Public awareness of marine litter problem has increased and, as a result, beach cleanups became popular in the region.  Several technical reports and brochures were published by NOWPAP RACs and are available online. Database on marine litter monitoring has been set up and available online as well.

Over the last 4 years of addressing the marine litter problem, the NOWPAP member states have made outstanding efforts on improving the marine litter management at the national level as well as on promoting regional cooperation through NOWPAP partners in the region. In the People’s Republic of China, several domestic laws and regulations related to marine litter management were revised and enforced.  The State Oceanic Administration of China initiated the National Marine Litter Monitoring Programme in 2006 and released annual reports since then.  In Japan, the Basic Plan on Establishing the Sound Material-Cycle Society, including marine litter issues, was revised in March 2008.  The Law for the Promotion in Marine Litter Disposal was enacted in July 2009.  Market-based economic instruments (e.g., ban on free plastic bags) are being implemented by some local governments.  In the Republic of Korea, Marine Litter Management Plan was developed and is being implemented since January 2009, based on the Marine Environmental Management Act which came into force in January 2008.  Under the plan, for sea-based marine litter, projects on the development of biodegradable and marked fishing gear, Styrofoam buoy compactors and fishing farm cleanup are on-going.  For land-based marine litter, projects on the river-basin management, trash-booms in major rivers and waterways, and waste treatment facilities are being undertaken.  These national efforts will be strengthened further through the implementation of RAP MALI.

 

Marine debris collected at the NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup campaign in Jeju, Korea, 2 October 2010. Photography by Sangjin Lee.

Marine debris collected at the NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup campaign in Jeju, Korea, 2 October 2010. Photography by NOWPAP RCU.

 

As one of the important component of the MALITA and RAP MALI, the International Costal Cleanup (ICC) has been widely promoted in the region.  Several NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup campaigns were organized and associated workshops were also held. In March 2010, the NOWPAP ICC and workshop on marine litter management were successfully organized in Hirado, Japan followed by another NOWPAP ICC and workshop in Jeju, Korea, which marked the 10th Anniversary of the ICC movement.

 

Sangjin LEE, Scientific Affairs Officer of NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU). He has been working on marine environment conservation area more than 7 years since he received Ph.D. degree in environmental engineering in the USA. Currently, he plays a role of assisting project activities including integrated coastal & marine ecosystem management, harmful algal bloom, invasive species, and oil and HNS spill preparedness and response, which are being implemented by NOWPAP Regional Activity Centers (RACs). He has also involved in development of projects related to marine environment issues.



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