Towards Osaka Blue Ocean Vision - G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter


Actions and Progress on Marine Plastic Litter
Last Update : 2020/04/02

Policy framework

Action Plan for the Marine Environment (Marine Strategy Framework Directive – MSFD)
Biodiversity plan: Target – “0 plastic reaching the sea in 2025”
National Roadmap against Marine Litter 2019-2025
Pending law on circular economy with a chapter devoted to plastics


In bold the actions already implemented and/or continuous.

1-On-land actions:

(i) forbid plastic carrier bags;
(ii) reinforce extended producer responsibility schemes and develop new ones (cigarette butts, wipes, fishing gears, etc.);
(iii) fight against littering in relation with local authorities;
(iv) contribute to European negotiations to prevent microplastics in products;
(v) establish a roadmap for circular economy (100% of plastics to be recycled in 2025, targets for a better collection of plastics, targets for a better recyclability of plastic products, etc.); study of a nation-wide deposit system for plastic bottles and other beverage containers (ongoing in 2019, part of the discussions of the circular economy roadmap and the forthcoming Law on wastage and circular economy).
(vi) implement voluntary commitments of major retailers and brand owners (“National Pact on plastic packaging”) on prevention measures (elimination of harmful or unnecessary plastic packaging and improved recycled content) accompanied by a monitoring system with pertinent features (transparency, independence, auditable);
(vii) favour international cooperation among European willing member states for the exchange of best practice and as an advocacy towards the European Commission to implement facilitating measures (“project of an European plastic pact”).
(viii) active participation in the writing and adoption of the European directive on single use plastics; forbid the single-use plastic items listed in the European directive as well as cotton-bud and microbeads;
(viiii) prevent the leakage of preproduction plastic pellets into the environment through an involvement of the industries.

2-Actions on rivers and waste and rain water:

(i) integrate objectives concerning marine litter in inland waters planning documents;
(ii) quantify the litter carried though rivers;
(iii) quantify litter carried through waste water;
(iv) identify the areas where litter accumulates in rivers;
(v) identify the actions/tools to prevent or recover litter in rivers and waste and rain water and experiment them;
(vi) evaluate the discharge of litter by rain water and elaborate strategies for action;
(vii) define a common methodology to monitor riverine litter and microplastic pollution;
(viii) prevent the leaks of plastic filtering sieves from water treatment plants into the environment.

3-Actions on the seashore and at sea

(I) monitor litter on beach sediments and at sea;
(ii) determine the areas where litter accumulates at sea and on the coastline and the possibility of actions;
(iii) launch awareness raising actions to the benefit of fishing and aquaculture activities;
(iv) identify and put in place actions to improve litter collection in ports in link with the European directive;
(v) implement the collection and recycling of fishing gears and aquaculture waste in link with the European directive;
(vi) encourage and develop passive fishing for litter actions;
(vii) launch a call for projects to tackle plastic pollution in the oversea territories.

4-Awareness raising actions

(i) put in place a citizen science platform on marine litter to identify the clean-up actions that take place, monitor the data and share best practices;
(ii) support the associations that launch awareness raising actions and clean-ups;
(iii) put in place a “zero plastic on the beach” chart in link with local authorities;
(iv) develop awareness raising and actions to inform citizens of the pollution, its impacts and the good practices to have.


(i) federate and give better voice to the scientific community.

6-International collaboration

(I) participation in regional sea conventions for knowledge and best practices sharing and implementation of action plans;
(ii) participation in international fora, negotiations and guidelines: JRC, UNEP, GESAMP, European Task Group on Marine Litter, Basel convention, etc. In particular, active participation in the adoption of the modification of the annexes of the Basel Convention, in order to control cross-border shipments of mixed plastic wastes.


Total post-consumer plastic waste generation : 3,3Mt
total of post-consumer plastics collected for recycling : 0,71 Mt.
The rest is either incinerated or disposed of in landfill.
Source : ADEME, Bilan national du recyclage, 2017 (tonnages de 2014).

For plastic packaging, the latest figures are the following :
total amount of post-consumer plastic packaging waste : 2,2Mt
recycling rate : 26%
recovery rate 65% (including recycling)
Source : ADEME 2019 on 2017 tonnages.

Monitoring on beaches in 2018 (OSPAR protocol) – list of the top 5 items found:
-English Channel and Northern Sea: rope, plastic/polystyrene bits or items, lids/caps, wraps
-Celtic Sea: aquaculture waste, plastic/polystyrene bits or items, fishing gears
-Bay of Biscay: plastic/polystyrene bits or items, rope, aquaculture waste, building material
-Western Mediterranean Sea: plastic/polystyrene bits or items, lids/caps, cigarette butts, wraps

Some data for beach clean-ups:
In 2018, in the Mediterranean, 13 064 persons have picked 774m3 of litter during cleanups.

1-On-land actions:

-Prohibition of plastic carrier bags
-Development of extended producer responsibility schemes (still on going) and extension of the scope of separate collection of plastic packaging for all households (the recyclable-bin is accepting all kind of plastic packaging, instead of just the bottles and jars) : already 2/3 of the national population is sorting that way, and it will be 100% in 2022).

2-Actions on rivers and waste and rain water:

-quantification of litter carried though rivers;
-quantification of litter carried through waste water;
-identification of actions/tools to prevent or recover litter in rivers and waste and rain water;
-organization of a workshop to identify the different methodologies to monitor riverine macroplastic pollution in the OSPAR area (regional sea convention).

3-Actions on the seashore and at sea

-A monitoring of litter on beach sediments and at sea is conducted according to the MSFD requirements and thanks to the NGOs (beach clean-ups, development of big litter bins and of an application to monitor the litter on the beach -, etc.);
-Awareness raising actions have been conducted towards fishermen to fight against pollution and initiate the collection of fishing gears and aquaculture waste;
-A study on the port reception facilities has been conducted to underline the flaws in ports’ waste management – an action plan will follow before 2020;
-fishing for litter initiatives (by fishermen) are occurring but will be further developed.

4-Awareness raising actions

-The ministry supports the associative network which intervenes in beach clean-ups and awareness raising actions;
-The citizen science platform on marine litter should be operating before the end of 2019 (a pilot version can be found here:
-Twice a year a meeting is organized among the NGOs and public and private actors to share information and raise issues;
-An advertising campaign is launched every year to raise awareness on littering;
-Two working groups have been put in place with local authorities to prevent and sanction littering;


-The scientific community meets once a year through the group of research “polymers and oceans”;
-The ministry provides guidelines for research subjects.

Note: Relevant indicators, data or other numerical information can be included at the discretion of each country, for example: (1) the amount of waste generated, reused, collected, recycled, and properly disposed of; (2) the amount of marine litter cleaned up; (3) the scale of use of innovative technologies and materials including R&D investment; (4) the scale and/or effect of assistance for countries that need technical capacity development including the increased amount of waste properly disposed of. (encouraged to indicate the proportion/elements of plastics and/or microplastics, if available)

Best practices

– A citizen science platform is very useful to give a clear idea of all the clean-ups that occur and of the quantity (and qualification) of litter collected. Such a platform is a way to share the good guidelines to conduct clean-ups (to preserve biodiversity and the nesting of birds, etc.) and to communicate on this issue and on actions and link the population who wants to get involved to the NGOs already in place;

– The prohibition of single-use plastic items (which are most found in the marine environment) is a good way to develop alternatives and to provide citizens with a safer choice of products and develop new habits of consumption. It is also very coherent with a better use of resources and the implementation of a circular economy.

-Actions on-land or in rivers and water treatment networks are crucial: they involve proper waste collection and water treatment, fight against littering, awareness raising (of objects not to be thrown in waste water, etc.), etc.

-The extended producer responsibility allows to finance the collection and recycling of certain waste. They can be particularly relevant when a certain waste is most found and whose collection can be difficult to put in place (for instance: cigarette buds).

Contact details

Bénédicte JENOT

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