August 2016

Eunomia Announces Marine Plastics Conference

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Eunomia is hosting Measures to Prevent Marine Plastics – A Call for Action an event to clear up misconceptions about the marine plastics problem and to present new measures that could be adopted to tackle this growing issue.

The environmental consultancy is inviting leading policy makers, thinkers and scientists from across the marine plastics landscape to the Brussels-based conference in September, to hear about, and discuss, new thinking on the subject.

Ricardo Serrão Santos MEP, an award-winning researcher and leader in the marine plastic conversation, is the first of two guest speakers. Ricardo, Vice Chair for Marine Knowledge, brings nearly 40 years of experience from the marine sector and recently took part in a petition to the European Commission to ban microbeads along with other MEPs. Ricardo will be joined by Anne-France Woestyn, Policy Officer at the European Commission’s DG MARE, who will speak about her department’s work on the issue of marine plastics.

Marine plastic experts Chris Sherrington, Principal Consultant, and Chiarina Darrah, Senior Consultant, will be speaking at the event, addressing current marine litter targets and making recommendations for measures based on their evidence and research.

They will be joined by Emma Priestland, Policy Officer at Seas at Risk, for a panel discussion on the issues raised at the meeting, and to take questions from the room

Eunomia is hosting the event following the launch of its ground-breaking report Marine Plastics: Where do they come from? Where do they go? in May 2016. The report revealed that 80% of the annual marine plastic input comes from land and 94% ends up on the sea floor. This new data suggested that efforts from several well-meaning clean-up projects to tackle the 1% of plastic floating on the seas surface might be better focused elsewhere.

Hara Xirou, Head of Eunomia’s Brussels Office, said:

“It’s well known that marine plastic creates litter-strewn beaches and that animals get tangled in nets. Now we know that 94% of the plastic is at the bottom of the sea we need to stop ‘skimming the surface’ and give more focus to turning off the tap. Plastics are entering our food chain, harming our ecosystems and have become a global problem that can only be addressed if we collaborate – that’s why we’re gathering thinkers from across Member States to hear our recommended measures and discuss how we can work together.”

Eunomia Chairman Dr Dominic Hogg, a leader in European policy and strategy, said:

“We know that much of the plastic ocean starts its life as litter in the terrestrial environment. There are also contributions from other sources, from tyre dust, to astroturf, to wash-off from sun-screen. The range of sources of the problem leads to correspondingly diverse recommendations for action if we are to do something other than try to clean the mess up when it’s already too late. What’s clear is that the time for taking action is now: marine plastics are like a boomerang which smacks us in the face when we throw them away.”

Measures to Prevent Marine Plastics – A Call for Action will take place at the Brussels Press Club on Thursday 29th September. To request an invite or if you have any questions please email hara.xirou@eunomia.co.uk.

The agenda for the event is available to download here: Measures to Prevent Marine Plastics – A Call for Action

 

Photo: Susan White from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Marine Debris litters a beach on Layson Island in the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, where it washed ashore (CC-BY-2.0), via www.flickr.com