International group of experts appeals to Basel and Stockholm Conventions for to acknowledge plastic marine litter as an issue of global environmental and health concern and recommends a series of concrete measures for adoption and implementation

EUCC Mediterranean Centre was member of the “Working Group on Marine litter plastics and microplastics and its POPs and EDC components: challenges and measures to tackle the issue” led by UNEP MAP / SCP RAC and formed during the past meeting of the Regionals Centers of the Basel and Stockholm conventions that took place on November 2016. The Working Group aims to raise the issue of pollutants associated with plastic waste in the oceans into the next Conference of the Parties (COP) of the chemical conventions which will take place from 24th April to 5th May.

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Microplastic fibers identified in the marine environment. By M.Danny25 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37727718

Persistent plastics in the marine environment degrade physically into microplastics and nanoplastics with an estimated life from decades to hundreds of years in the marine environment, and its ingestion by marine biota is a potential hazard to the environment, its biodiversity and potentially to human health. The risk stem basically from their toxic additives once the micro and nanoplastics are uptaken by marine biota, as some of those chemicals have toxic or endocrine disrupting properties. Endocrine disruptors (EDCs) can affect the fertility of the species, which can have serious consequences on the biodiversity and viability of the marine ecosystems, and increasing in the long term food vulnerability of millions of humans who have fish as staple food, especially in developing countries.

 

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