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


Actions and Progress on Marine Plastic Litter
Last Update : 2021/08/16

Policy framework

National Action Plan

Implementation of the Directive 2008/56/EC on Marine litter and update of the Regional Plan on the Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean

– Brief description:
According to the art. 11 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, every 6 years, Italy plans and reports to the European Commission the assessment status of the marine environment related to the Descriptor 10 (Marine litter). To do that, a National Monitoring program on beach litter, floating litter, seafloor litter, microlitter, and litter ingested by biota is developed in order to verify the trends. To achieve the good environmental status according to the art. 13 of the MSFD, programme of measures are defined. Moreover, Italy according to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols (Barcelona Convention) is upgrading the Regional Plan on the Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean.

Legal framework

2015. National legislative measure to reduce the improper discarding of small and micro waste (receipts, chewingum, tissues, cigarette butts, etc.) in the environment. In particular, municipalities shall install special containers for the collection of cigarette butts in the streets, in parks and high social gathering places. Tobacco producers shall implement information campaigns, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea, with the aim to raise consumer awareness about the harmful consequences for the environment resulting from the littering of cigarette butts.

2017. Programme of measures according to Article 13 of the MSFD (D.P.C.M. 10/10/2017)

i. Design and implementation of measures to improve the management of litter generated by fishing and aquaculture activities, including discarded equipment, favoring, where possible, its reuse, recycling and recovery.

ii. Study, design and creation of a collection and disposal chain for litter accidentally collected by fishermen.

iii. Implementation of training and awareness measures to increase knowledge and promote the education of the public and economic operators to prevent and combat marine litter.

2017: National legislative measure aiming at reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags

2017: National legislative measure: ban of plastic cotton buds sticks by 2019 and ban of plastic microbeds in cosmetics, soaps, creams, toothpastes by 2020

2019. Plastic Tax on single use plastic products and packaging

2021. Transposition of Directive (EU) 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment (ongoing)

2021. Transposition of Directive (EU) 2019/883 on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships, amending Directive 2010/65/EU and repealing Directive 2000/59/EC (ongoing)


According to the Commission Decision (EU) 2017/848 of 17 May 2017

D10C1 – Primary: The composition, amount and spatial distribution of litter on the coastline, in the surface layer of the water column, and on the seabed, are at levels that do not cause harm to the coastal and marine environment.

D10C2 – Primary: The composition, amount and spatial distribution of micro-litter on the coastline, in the surface layer of the water column, and in seabed sediment, are at levels that do not cause harm to the coastal and marine environment.

D10C3 – Secondary: The amount of litter and micro-litter ingested by marine animals is at a level that does not adversely affect the health of the species concerned.

D10C4 – Secondary: The number of individuals of each species which are adversely affected due to litter, such as by entanglement, other types of injury or mortality, or health effects.




Prevention and reduction of plastic waste generation

Charge for single-use plastic products (e.g. shopping bags, straws)

Names of actions:
Plastic Tax on single useplastic products andpackaging

Brief description:
The plastic tax is aimed atdiscouraging the use ofplastic products, bysubjecting those whoproduce, buy or importsingle-use products usedfor containment,protection, handling ordelivery of goods or foodproducts to a tax of 45euro cents per kilo.

We do not see anyparticular trend

The entry into force has been postponed to 2022

Regulation on microplastics

Names of actions:
2017.National legislativemeasure: ban ofmicroplastics in cosmetics,soaps, creams, toothpastes.

Brief description:
On January 1st,2020, the ban onmicroplastics came intoforce. The law prohibitsthe “placing on the marketof rinse-off cosmeticproducts with anexfoliating or cleansingaction containingmicroplastics”. Thepenalties range from finesto the stop of theproduction.

We do not see anyparticular trend

The law came into force in 2020, for this reason it is not possible to see any trend of change.


Names of actions:
Transposition of Directive (EU) 2019/904

The Directive covers single-use plastic products that are found the most on beaches in the Union as well as fishing gear containing plastic and products made from oxo-degradable plastic

Brief description:
The objectives of this Directive are to prevent and reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, in particular the aquatic environment, and on human health.

The Directive promotes circular approaches that give priority to sustainable and non-toxic re-usable products and re-use systems rather than to single-use products, aiming first and foremost to reduce the quantity of waste generated.

We do not see anyparticular trend

Italy is transposing the Directive, for this reason it is not possible to see any trend of change.



Environmentally sound waste management

Enforcement of proper waste management system

Names of actions:
NationalWaste Management Plan

Brief description:
Italy is elaborating aNational Waste ManagementPlan aimed at improving andharmonizing wastemanagement at regionallevel

We do not see anyparticular trend



Cleanup of marine plastic litter

Collection of scattered waste on beach

Names of actions:
Clean up initiatives byNGOs Legambiente, Marevivo and WWF

Brief description:
Initiatives with citizensto remove marine litter from the beaches

We see a positiveimprovement from last twoyears

Removal of plastic litter from the ocean/sea

Names of actions:
1. Initiative of theMinistry of the EcologicalTransition to remove marine litter from the sea

Brief description:
The Castalia ships,specialized in theprevention and recovery ofhydrocarbon pollution, aresupporting the Ministry ofthe Ecological Transitionto collect and trace thepresence, quantity andcomposition of floatingmarine litter and inparticular plastic waste,both in protected marineareas and in areas in front of river mouths.

For this activity, theMinistry is also supportedby Corepla, the NationalConsortium for thecollection, recycling andrecovery of plasticpackaging, for anexperimental project forthe recycling of plasticmaterial recovered from thesea fleet.

Names of actions:
2. Transposition ofDirective (EU) 2019/883 onport reception facilitiesfor the delivery of wastefrom ships, amendingDirective 2010/65/EU andrepealing Directive 2000/59/EC.

Brief description:
According to thisDirective, passively fishedwaste (waste collected innets during fishingoperations can be deliveredfor free to the port reception facilities.

We do not see anyparticular trend

1.The collection of data isstill ongoing. Data will beelaborated at the end of the first stage

We do not see anyparticular trend

2. Italy is transposing theDirective this year (2021).For this reason it is notpossible to see any trend of change.



Promotion of innovative solutions

Public-private partnerships for creating and implementing innovative solution

Names of actions:
2018-Project “Il Pod’AMare”

Brief description:
The project was prepared bythe Foundation forSustainable Development, bythe Corepla and CastaliaConsortia and implementedthanks to the institutionalcoordination carried out bythe Po River DistrictAuthority and with thepatronage of theMunicipality of Ferrara andAIPO (Interregional Agencyfor the Po River).

The project focused on theselection and collection offloating litter through theinstallation of acollection device(Seasweeper) positioned inthe section of the river Poin Pontelagoscuro(Municipality of Ferrara)40 km from the mouth. Theintercepted litter was sentfor recycling and with thesupport of Corepla, theplastic waste was then sentto the sorting center whichseparated and sent thevarious polymeric fractionsfor recycling.

We see a positiveimprovement from last twoyears

The initiative started in2018 in the Po river now isexported also in other two rivers.



Education and awareness raising

Education system for encouraging public awareness on MPL issues

If yes, give a briefdescription of your effortsrelated to education:

1. ISPRA program ofenvironmental educationinitiatives forsustainability, aimed atschools of all levels (

2. The Researchers’ Nightis an initiative promotedby the European Commissionsince 2005 that involvesthousands of researchersand research institutionsin all European countriesevery year. The goal is tocreate opportunities forresearchers and citizens tomeet to spread scientificculture and knowledge ofthe research professions inan informal and stimulatingcontext

ScienzaInsieme to promotescientific dissemination.It offers to a wideaudience the opportunity toexperience science inlaboratories, inconferences, seminars,scientific cafes, tours,exhibitions and during thenumerous activitiesdesigned for children andfamilies and the schools.

ScienzaInsieme spreadsinformation, news, videoson the main events andinitiatives in thescientific world

We see a positiveimprovement from last twoyears

The initiatives and thenumber of participants are increasing.

Awareness raising campaigns related to MPL



Monitoring & Scientific research on marine plastic litter

Actions for encouraging monitoring / scientific research on plastic flows and ocean surface microplastics

Names of actions:
MarineStrategy FrameworkDirective Article 11Monitoring Programmes

Brief description:
Beach litter

Scope. Data collection onquantity, composition,trends and possible sourcesof marine litter present onbeaches.

Parameter. Number ofobjects per category on 100m of beach.

Method. Monitoring oftransects represented by astrip of beach of 100 m.Counting andcharacterization of Itemslarger than 2.5 cm (longestside) including cigarettebutts.

Frequency. Twice a year

– from 01 February to 30April (Spring)

– from 01 October to 31December (Autumn).

Floating litter

Scope. Data collection onquantity, composition, andterritorial distribution ofwaste in the surface layerof the water column.

Parameter.Numbers of items bycategory per squarekilometre (km2) in thesurface layer of the watercolumn.

Method. A visual censusmonitoring with a dedicatedobserver within a definedstrip along the entire pathof the transect of amaximum of 5 m.


Coastal waters: six surveysa year, every two months.

Offshore: three / fivesurveys per season for eachtransect.

Riverine inputs of litter entering the sea

Scope.Data collection on floatinglitter entering the sea.

Parameter. Within the same river,number of items (divided bycategory) / hour.

In order to normalize thedata with other rivers, theparameter becomes: numberof items (divided bycategory) / hour / meter2

Method. Visual census of floatingmacro-litter larger than2.5 cm to be carried out onat least half the width ofthe river (the observationstrip) and from a heightnot exceeding 10 m.


Five monitors per season(20 monitors per year).

Seafloor litter

Scope. Data collection onspatial distribution, typeand quantity of litter inthe seabed and the possibleimpact that it can cause tobenthic organisms.


Number of items percategory per km2

Spatial distribution oflitter on the bottom.

Number of individuals ofeach species affected bylitter.


Hard bottom: using ROVsalong transects of knownlength, georeferencedhigh-resolution image-data(photos / videos) will beacquired and analyzed.

Soft bottom: MEDITS /SOLEMON samplings withtrawl nets.


Biennial for hard bottom.

Annual for soft bottom.


Scope. Evaluate the abundanceand composition ofmicrolitter, in particularmicroplastics, present inthe surface layer of thewater column.

Parameter. Number of micro particlesper m2 by shape and colour.

Method. Use of a “manta net” (330µm mesh) towed for 20minutes along a linearpath, with a speed between1 and 2 knots.


Coastal waters: twice ayear.

Offshore: once a year.

Marine litter ingested by Caretta caretta

Scope. Establish the quantityand composition of ingestedmarine litter on deadspecimens of Carettacaretta analyzing thegastro intestinal contents.

Parameter. F0% =% of turtles thathave ingested litter on thetotal number of strandedspecimens.

(g) = amount of marinelitter ingested in grams.

Method. The specimens of Carettacaretta are subjected tonecropsy. The analysis oflitterin C. caretta iscarried out in thelaboratory immediatelyafter the recovery of deadorganism

Frequency. Based on the findings ofspecimens strandedthroughout the year.

1) Actions for encouraging monitoring / scientific research on plastic flows and ocean surface microplastics

Engagement in international/regional level actions for encouraging monitoring / scientific research on plastic flows and ocean surface microplastics

Names of actions:
1. Marine StrategyFramework Directive

2. UNEP-MAP BarcelonaConvention

3. GESAMP Working Group onseabased sources of marinelitter.

Brief description:
1. Common ImplementationStrategy

The Directive requires fromMember States detailed andcoordinated input. In orderto facilitate this work,Member States and theEuropean Commission haveset up an informalprogramme of coordination,the Common ImplementationStrategy (CIS).

2. Implementation of theEcosystem Approach (EcAp)in the Mediterranean by theContracting parties in thecontext of the BarcelonaConvention for theProtection of the MarineEnvironment and the Coastalregion of the Mediterraneanand its Protocols. Established

3 The GESAMP WG 23 isheaded by FAO and IMO andcosponsored by UNEP. Theoverall objective of WG 43is to build a broaderunderstanding of sea-basedsources of marine litter,in particular from theshipping and fishing sectors, including therelative contribution ofdifferent sources, analysisof plastic use andmanagement within bothindustries and the rangeand extent of impacts from

sea-based sources of marinelitter. The Working Groupwill also work to build amore comprehensiveunderstanding of specific types of sea-basedsources of marine litter,and to guide interventionson these sources based onidentified priorities.


Contact details

Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition
Directorate General for Circular Economy

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