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

the Netherlands

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

Policy framework

– Policy programme on micro plastics – European Marine Strategy Framework Directive


A. Measures at national level A1. Policy programme on micro plastics: – Prevention and cleaning up of litter, specifically in rivers. – Behavioural change pilots (waste collection infrastructure, communication nudges etc.) are done in collaboration with regional and local governments to prevent litter. – A few pilots are planned with litter catchment systems in the river. – A monitoring system will be developed to investigate the amount of plastic litter and micro plastics in and along rivers. – Extended Producer Responsibility on ‘throw-away plastics’ (SUP-directive). – Car tires: communication campaign on tire pressure and tire type. Lobby towards the EU for including wear in the EU tire label. – Clothing: our Research Institute for health and the Environment (RIVM) recently published a study on the possible measures to prevent micro plastics from clothing. Currently, we ́re discussing next steps with the sector.

A2. EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) In 2015, the Netherlands adopted the MSFD Program of Measures. Based on top 10 beach litter items and taking into account existing measures the following additional measures were adopted including three so-called Green Deals (see below) where actions and obligations for government authorities, entrepreneurs, civil society organisations and private individuals are brought together:

Green Deal for Clean Beaches Provides insight into how different parties go about cleaning up the Dutch North Sea beaches and keeping them clean. The Green Deal also includes the ambitions, plans

and concrete actions of these parties. Making activities and plans manifest promotes collaboration and coordination between multiple parties.

Green Deal for Ships’ waste chain Parties in the maritime chain closed the Green Deal for Ships’ Waste Chain including concrete agreements to close the maritime waste cycle by means of waste prevention during provisioning, further optimisation of supervision, and optimisation of waste delivery in seaports and recycling of plastic maritime waste ashore.

Green Deal for Fishing in Support of a Clean Sea In this Green Deal the fishing industry, together with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, ports, waste processors and other parties, is seeking ways to close the waste cycle and thus prevent waste ending up in the sea. One of the basic principles is that all fishing vessels will deliver their operational and domestic waste on land as from 2020. The green deal tackles the main waste streams of fishery: operational ships’ waste (nets, ropes, dolly rope) and domestic waste. The

agreements on the ‘Fishing for Litter waste’1 and promoting marine awareness courses for fishermen are also included in the Green Deal for Fishing in Support of a Clean Sea. Together with Fishing for Litter the Green Deal resulted in improved collection of waste on board of ships and in ports; collection and recycling of used fishing nets; environment courses at fisheries schools; and separation of different kinds of waste to make recycling possible

A3. Product policy 

– Two plastic products received additional attention in the MSFD program of

measures: balloons in addition to the awareness campaigns, the Cabinet seeks to restrict the simultaneous launching of large numbers of balloons and to disseminate information on possible alternatives. – Cosmetics (see below, the part on measures at EU-level)

A4. Education Overall agenda –setting and awareness took place via education: the litter/plastic soup theme has been included in the successive levels of learning (with the Institute for Curriculum Development) and promoted among teaching and education

1 Fishing boats are given large bags to collect the plastics, ghost gear and other debris that gathers in their nets during normal fishing activities. When the fishing boats come into port, they can unload the bags of litter. These bags are collected regularly and the rubbish is recycled or disposed of on land. All the fishermen who participate in the project are volunteers. On a daily basis, they are out at sea removing rubbish from the ocean 

professionals. Improving and intensifying education about litter and waste separation as well as focusing education also on behavioural change by means of an education measure together with NGOs and other organisations focused on education.

B. Measures at regional level: collaboration in the North Eastern Atlantic Area (OSPAR) B1. Monitoring Within OSPAR Regional Sea Convention Common Indicator monitoring takes place. Beachlitter, Plastics particles in stomachs Fulmars (floating litter and impact indicator) and seabed litter are being monitored.

B2. Regional Action Plan Marine Litter In 2014 OSPAR established its Regional Action Plan (RAP) Marine Litter. The plan describes actions and measures for reducing the litter problem and target both sea- based sources and land-based sources, via the rivers or otherwise. The member states link as many of their national litter measures as possible to OSPAR’s action plan. The Netherlands and Portugal together have a coordinating role here. The plan supports the ambitions of the MSFD and Sustainable Development Goal 14 for achieving a significant reduction in marine litter by 2025.

The Netherlands has a leading role in the development of the following OSPAR measures: Implementing regional coordination of the Port Reception Facilities (PRF) directive, reducing the impact of dolly rope and other fisheries related waste streams, exchanging best practice to reduce waste in rivers, tackling microplastics in cosmetics products and other sources and reinforcing Fishing for Litter agreements.

C. Measures at EU-level 

– In the European Union the Single Use plastics (SUP) directive will help in preventing microplastics from litter, as it addresses the 10 most common sources of plastic waste on European beaches. The SUP directive prohibits some plastics products from entering the European market, targets others with EPR, puts labeling restrictions on some products and helps to raise awareness amongst consumers.

– The Netherlands aimed for an EU ban on microplastics in cosmetics and detergents to reduce the emission of microplastics into the marine environment. This has been included in the EU plastic strategy of January 2018

and the Commission has started a process to restrict the use of intentionally added micro plastics.

D. Bilateral collaboration The Netherlands works towards an international Green Deal with Indonesia focused on the use circular design and chemical recycling of single-use plastic products and packaging. The feasibility of public-private investment in a factory for chemical recycling will be examined. The Netherlands shares expertise with the Indonesian authorities and the packaging sector there about effective ways of using Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for plastic collection, sorting and recycling. In the future pilot and demonstration projects will also start at ten sites where plastic is collected separately.


development. There are however a few indicators available. The OSPAR assessments for beach litter, seabed litter and plastic in the stomachs of fulmars show that litter (including mostly plastic) is common on the beaches, in the water column and on the seabed of the North Sea. At North Sea level, there are still no indications of a significant decrease for beach and seabed litter but significant decreases have been observed in plastic in the stomachs of northern fulmars for both the wider North Sea area as for the birds washed up on the Dutch coast. In addition, a significant decrease has been observed, for the first time, in the total number of litter items on Dutch beaches.

Last year the campaign on tires resulted in 250.000 extra cars with the right tire pressure, which prevented an estimate of 5-10 tonnes of micro plastic emission to the water.

Best practices

1. Green Deals // Plastic Pact In the Dutch measures on (micro) plastics a lot of emphasis is placed on collaboration with the sector. For example in the Green Deals that were set up for the Framework Directive Marine Strategy (see above).

The same is true for the Plastic Pact that was signed in February 2019. More than 75 parties (supermarkets, plastic packaging industry, recyclers, etc.) committed themselves to 4 concrete targets by 2025 a. all single-use plastic products and packaging that the Plastics-Using Companies place on the Dutch market are reusable where possible and appropriate, and are in any case 100% recyclable b. each of the Plastics-Using Companies avoids unnecessary use of plastic materials through reduced use, more reuse and/or use of alternative, more sustainable materials, resulting in a 20% reduction in the amount of plastics (in kg) relative to the total amount of single-use products and packaging placed on the market, compared to the reference year (2017). c. the Plastics-Producing Companies will have created sufficient sorting and recycling capacity in the Netherlands so that at least 70% of all single-use plastic products and packaging (measured by weight) that reach the disposal stage in the Netherlands are recycled to a high standard; d. all single-use plastic products and packaging marketed by Plastic-Using Companies will contain the highest possible percentage of recycled plastics (in kg12), with each company achieving an average of at least 35%. Moreover, the plastics used will as much as possible be sustainably produced biobased plastics, in order to reduce the use of virgin fossil-based plastics.

2. Prohibitions of plastics that often end up as litter. In 2016 the Dutch government prohibited handing out free plastic bags in shops. Shops were still allowed to give their customers a plastic bag, but they had to pay for it. This made consumers very aware of the amount of plastic bags they consumed. This policy will be evaluated this year. In the new SUP directive single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks), single-use plastic plates, plastic straws, cotton bud sticks made of plastic, plastic balloon sticks and oxo-degradable

plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups will be prohibited. Currently the EU directive is translated into national policy. We expect this to be very effective.

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Jennefer Baarn

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