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UNEP Marine Litter Publications

Marine Litter: A Global Challenge (2009)

This report prepared under a collaborative partnership between the Ocean Conservancy and UNEP Regional Seas Programme, aims to provide an overview of the status of marine litter in UNEP's assisted Regional Seas, based on the analysis of regional reviews, and regional action plan documents prepared in the regions.

It makes a comparative analysis of all available materials and draws conclusions regarding the state of marine litter at the global and regional levels, and concludes that there is an urgent need to approach the issue of marine litter through better enforcement of laws and regulations, expanded outreach and educational campaigns and the employment of strong economic instruments and incentives.

[ PDF 6.58MB ]

UNEP/IOC Guidelines on Survey and Monitoring of Marine Litter (2009)

This report prepared under a collaborative partnership between the IOC of UNESCO and UNEP Regional Seas Programme, aims to assist policy makers and efforts by regions, countries, Regional Seas Programmes and other relevant organizations and institutions to address the problem of monitoring and assessment of marine litter.

The guidelines include a comparative analysis of information from around the world on existing experiences and methods for surveys, monitoring, reporting protocols and assessment of marine litter.

[ PDF 2.66MB ]

Guidelines on the Use of Market-based Instruments to Address the Problem of Marine Litter (2009)

This report aims to be a practical reference to decision makers and relevant organisations on how to select, apply and implement economic tools (also referred to as market based instruments) to address problems with marine litter.

The report will also assist policy makers in deciding whether the conditions are favourable and which economic tools could potentially be effective.

[ PDF 3.72MB ]

Abandoned, Lost or Otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (2009)

This document prepared under a collaborative partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and UNEP Regional Seas Programme, profiles a variety of measures currently being taken to reduce abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG).

It reviews the magnitude and composition of ALDFG, and while noting that information is not comprehensive and does not allow for any global estimates, suggests that gill nets and fishing traps/pots may be the most common type of ALDFG. It concludes by making a number of recommendations for future action to reduce ALDFG be it on a mandatory/voluntary basis.

[ PDF 2.47MB ]

UNEP's Global Initiative on Marine Litter- Flyer

This flyer briefly outlines the problems of marine litter, benefits of resolving the problem, and elaborates actions being undertaken under UNEP's Global Initiative on Marine Litter.

[ PDF 286KB ]


Marine Litter: An analytical overview (2005)

This publication was prepared by UNEP/Regional Seas and the GPA and was published in June 2005.

The document deals with the problem of marine litter, as well as measures to prevent the problem, with an analysis of the situation and proposals for action.

[ PDF 8.58MB ]

Tightening the noose - Flyer

Marine litter disposed of in the marine or coastal environment – is an environmental, economic, health, and aesthetic problem.

Coastal waste dumps, municipal wastewater discharges, rivers, industrial facilities, merchant ships, fishing vessels, cruise ships, and even offshore oil and gas platforms – all contribute to this mounting crisis.

[ PDF 978KB ]

Marine Litter - trash that kills brochure

Marine litter has become an increasingly serious environmental, economic, health and aesthetic problem around the world..

Marine litter items travel widely, over long distances, with ocean currents and winds. It is found not only in the waters, on the seabeds or on the beaches of densely populated regions, but also in remote places far away from any obvious sources.

[ PDF 3.35MB ]


Other Publications

Plastic Debris in the World’s Oceans

This publication was prepared by Greenpeace and authored by Michelle Allsopp, Adam Walters, David Santillo, and Paul Johnston.

This report draws together scientific research on the distribution of marine debris in the world’s oceans and its impacts on wildlife.The information is sourced largely from papers that have been published on this subject between 1990 and 2005. Finally it addresses workable solutions to help curb this threat to the marine environment. [ PDF 978KB ]


National Marine Debris Monitoring Program

Ocean Conservancy’s Landmark 5 Year Research Project was conducted under the direction of marine debris expert Seba Sheavly from 2001 to 2006 with the goal of setting a nationwide scientific baseline of the marine debris problem in the U.S.

This study is the first significant evaluation of the marine debris problem faced in the U.S. and will help federal and state agencies, as well as local communities better understand where trash in the ocean is coming from and it will assist in developing solutions for preventing this serious problem. [ PDF 3.85MB ]