Managing Marine Litter: Exploring the Evolving Role of International and European Law in Confronting a Persistent Environmental Problem
Merkourios, Vol. 27, No. 73, pp. 4-18, June 2011
15 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2011
Date Written: June 14, 2011
The contamination of the world’s oceans by human garbage, especially plastics, ranks among those environmental problems whose resolution appears remote, despite the considerable public attention paid to the ‘Great Garbage Patch’ in the Pacific, ‘plastic soup’, and the like. This ‘marine litter’ (or ‘marine debris’) problem is characterized by diffuse sources and an array of adverse environmental impacts, including entanglement of and ingestion by albatrosses, fulmars, turtles, seals and a variety of other marine wildlife. This article explores the evolving role of international law in the efforts to manage marine litter, including recent developments involving the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR Convention) and the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
Keywords: marine litter, plastic pollution, international environmental law, OSPAR Convention, marine strategy framework directive
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