Regulation and management of marine litter

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This chapter aims to provide an overview of the regulation and management instruments developed at international, regional and national levels to address marine litter problems, put forward the potential gaps in the existing management body and suggest solutions. While not covering the gamut of all relevant instruments, a number of existing instruments, including specific management measures contained therein, were profiled as illustration. The management measures illustrated are either on a mandatory or voluntary basis and provide a general, snapshot picture of the management framework of marine litter. They can be broadly divided into four categories: preventive, mitigating, removing and behavior-changing. The preventive and behavior-changing measures are particularly important in addressing marine litter at its root. The former schemes include source reduction, waste reuse and recycling, containing debris at points of entry into receiving waters and land-based management initiatives (e.g. restriction of the use of plastic bags, establishment of extended producer responsibility). The latter schemes aid people�s engagement in the other three types of measures, including education campaigns and activities raising awareness (e.g. Fishing for Litter). The potential gaps include limits of existing instruments in addressing plastic marine litter, deficiencies in the legislation and a lack of enforcement of regulations, poor cooperation among countries on marine litter issues and insufficient data on marine litter. To fill these gaps, recommendations are proposed, including establishment of a new international instrument targeted to the plastic marine litter problem, amending existing instruments to narrow exceptions and clarify enforcement standards, establishing national marine litter programe, enhancing participation and cooperation of states with regard to international/regional initiative, and devising measures to prevent marine litter from fishing vessels.




Chen, C. L. (2015). Regulation and management of marine litter. In Marine Anthropogenic Litter (pp. 395–428). Springer International Publishing.

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