FOCUSED IN SOLUTIONS THE COMMISSIONER'S SPEECH IN THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PREVENTION AND MARINE LITTER MANAGEMENT IN BERLIN, 12 APRIL 2013

PERSEUS among the conference participants shares the message from Janez Potočnik's, European Commissioner for Environment speech 'Let’s Free our Oceans from this Plague' .

The message was to focus in solutions:

1. Involve the citizens and raise public awareness: Clean-up campaigns are formidable tools to raise public awareness and involve citizens, and this is why the Commissioner has been promoting a Clean-Up Day at EU level. People actually like to be involved and should be, because without them no policy can be successful. Change needs to go beyond legislation.

2. Key role of private sector: The private sector, and in particular the packaging industry, also has a key role to play. Nearly 60 % of our plastic waste is packaging waste. Industry has to be part of the solution. The need to make a distinct effort to reduce “over-packaging” is crucial. The objective should be to package as smart as we can. Packaging is fine where it clearly serves a useful purpose but it should be avoided where it is simply superfluous. At the same time, we need to increase the recycling of plastic packaging. Recycling starts in the product design phase. Plastic packaging should be designed in a way that it is easily and efficiently recycled. For example, recycling can be made easier by avoiding dark pigment that is difficult to remove and results in 'unattractive' grey recycled plastics; plastics should be chemically simpler and cleaner; and multi-layer packaging material should be designed in a way that it does not hamper recycling.

3. Disseminating experiences- demonstrating good practices: Litter prevention is very successful in some Member States, we need to learn from them. One common feature of success is a well-functioning waste management infrastructure – regular waste collection, separate collection bins, public waste collection points for glass, metal, paper, solvents, bulky rubbish. All of these mean less littering.

4. Marine Litter needs regional and global cooperation: To address marine litter in our seas, we need to go a step further. We need more and stronger cooperation at the regional level and at the global level. In our Roadmap "Towards a Resource Efficient Europe" published in 2011, we committed to contribute to the development of the regional action plans. The further development of these regional action plans on marine litter during this conference, with a very active involvement of the four regional seas conventions is a good example of how to cooperate within the European context. We also want to extend this promising cooperation to the global level. Commissioner was very pleased to see that UNEP is using the “INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT OF MARINE LITTER IN EUROPEAN SEAS, BERLIN, GERMANY” for the further development of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter.  (Article’s Source)