21 October 2021 Report

From Pollution to Solution: A global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution

Authors: UNEP

From Pollution to Solution: A global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution reveals the impact of marine litter and plastic pollution in the environment and their effects on the health of ecosystems, wildlife and humans.

Plastics are the largest, most harmful and most persistent fraction of marine litter, accounting for at least 85 per cent of total marine waste.

The assessment examines the magnitude and severity of marine litter and plastic pollution and reviews existing solutions and actions. The assessment demonstrates that there is a growing threat from marine litter and plastic pollution in all ecosystems from source to sea. It provides a comprehensive update on current research (and knowledge gaps) with respect to direct impacts on marine life, risks posed to ecosystems and human health, and social and economic costs.

Overall, the assessment, which is intended to inform evidence-based action at all levels, underscores the need for urgent, global action. It shows that while we have the know-how, we need the political will and urgent action to tackle this mounting crisis. The report will inform discussions at the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) in 2022, where countries will come together to decide a way forward for global cooperation.

Further Resources:

Ask a Scientist

Learn from renowned scientist and lead author about marine litter - who it affects and how and what we can do to reduce the amount of pollution going into our oceans.

Measuring ambient water quality. SDG Indicator 6.3.2.

This video highlights the critical need to monitor and assess the quality of water in the world's rivers, lakes and aquifers for their management and protection. It also underscores that for many water bodies that sustain our lives and livelihoods there are significant data gaps, mainly in poorer countries.

Implementing Integrated Water Resources Management: SDG Indicator 6.5.1.

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