7 April 2021
By Bryan Smyth
Ireland must lead the way when it comes to protecting our oceans from marine litter. This is according to Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune who has stressed the need for a collective approach to keeping our waters clean and safe.
MEPs at the European Parliament have stressed that marine litter, and especially micro and nano plastic, “poses a serious threat to a number of marine animal species”, as well as to fishermen and consumers.
The fishing sector is estimated to lose between 1 and 5% of its revenue because of marine pollution. Fisheries and aquaculture waste accounts for 27% of marine litter. They said that an average consumer of Mediterranean shellfish ingests around 11000 fragments of plastic every year.
The European Parliament is demanding an EU action plan to substantially reduce the use of plastics and to tackle the pollution of rivers, water courses and coastlines. They said that 80% of marine waste comes from the land. MEPs are also calling for more research to be carried out on the impact of marine litter and micro and nano plastic on fishery resources.
Only 1% of the plastic in the ocean is found floating on the surface, whilst most of it ends up in deep-sea.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune said: “Marine litter is having a very negative impact on our seas. Reducing the amount of marine little in our oceans and on our beaches is vital to protect marine life and also to ensure that fish, and as a result the food chain, are not further contaminated by items such as plastics. Ireland must lead the way when it comes to tackling the issue of marine litter. Our oceans and seas around Ireland must be looked after and it is up to all of us to ensure we take care of them.”
“It is not enough to simply clean up our waste, we must tackle this at source. We need to be aware of how our actions impact the environment. A circular economy approach focused on recycling and the reuse of materials and products is the best solution to the marine litter problem. Everyone in Ireland has a part to play in keeping our oceans clean.”