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


Actions and Progress on Marine Plastic Litter
Last Update : 2021/09/06

Policy framework

National Action Plan

Program of Measures on Marine Litter (2016-2021)

Brief description:
Marine Strategies, complying with the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, include a Program of Measures on Marine Litter (2016-2021). The 5 Spanish Marine Strategies, one per each marine subdivision, where legally approved by Royal Decree 1365/2018, 2nd November 2018. A new Program of Measures on Marine Litter (2022-2027) is under design.

Legal framework

  • Law 41/2010 for the protection of the marine environment,
  • Law 22/2011 on waste and contaminated soils, National Strategy for a Circular Economy and its Action Plans

Brief description:
The 5 Spanish Marine Strategies, one per each marine subdivision, where legally approved by Royal Decree 1365/2018, 2nd November 2018.

Furthermore, Spain is preparing a framework legislation on waste that includes specific provision in order to reduce de plastic pollution. In that sense it is proposed:

  • by 2030, 70% reduction of the consumption of some single use plastic product (food containers and cups for beverages), taking into account the quantity placed in the market in 2022.
  • The reduction of the consumption of other different plastic products as plastics trays for food, rings grouping tins of beverage, among others)
  • By July 2021, the restriction of cosmetic and hygienic product contained plastic microsphere added intentionally
  • The development of EPR for agricultural plastic
  • A specific tax for all non reusable plastic packaging place in the market

That framework legislation transposes the European legislation on single use plastic (Directive (UE) 2019/904).

In the framework of circular economy Spain is also working in a specific action plan on plastic in the long term. By the moment, it is not possible to provide any further information on it.


  • Marine litter on beaches
  • Floating litter
  • Seabed litter
  • Microplastics in surface waters
  • Microplastics in sediments
  • Microplastics on beaches
  • Citizen science
  • Ingestion of ML by turtles
  • Entanglement (turtles)




Prevention and reduction of plastic waste generation

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

Names of actions:
Royal decree 293/2018 on plastic bags.

Future Law on waste and soil contaminated

Future Royal Decree on packaging and packaging waste

We see a positive improvement from last two years

Actions for encouraging sustainable / circular product design

Names of actions:
Circular Economy Action Plan

Future Royal Decree on packaging and packaging waste

Brief description:
through eco-modulation of fee in EPR


Regulation on microplastics

Names of actions:
Include restrictions in the Future Law on waste and soil contaminated




Environmentally sound waste management

Enforcement of proper waste management system

Names of actions:
In a few month we´ll have a new law of waste mangement

Prevention of littering, illegal dumping and unintentional leakage of waste into the ocean

Names of actions:
in a few months we´ll have a new waste law

Brief description:
The future law will include penalties for littering




Cleanup of marine plastic litter

Collection of scattered waste on beach

Names of actions:
Financing of clean-up activities (rivers, beaches, floating litter and shallow seabeds) and encourage participation in organised clean-up campaigns (linked to a harmonised citizen science data collection).


Removal of plastic litter from the ocean

Names of actions:

  • Implementation of a fishing for litter national plan. The measure will include preparatory actions such as a technical document to ensure consistency of methodologies and data collection, a national database, and demonstration pilot actions as part of LIFE INTEMARES European project. Funds are available in the framework of European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Spanish Operative Programme.
  • Protocol for inventory, classification, assessment and controlled removal of “ghost nets”, as part of LIFE INTEMARES European project.



Education and awareness raising

Awareness raising campaigns related to MPL

National level:

Names of actions:

  1. Preparation of awareness/communication materials
  2. Establishment of a technical group on marine litter (national hub) (which organises public events within the National Environmental Congress) and stimulation of national discussion in the form of periodic roundtables with stakeholder participation.
  3. Creation of “Guardians of the Beach” program, aimed at associations, environmental organizations, fishermen, fishing associations and other groups and a network of “guardians” organizations to ensure environmental preservation of rivers and beaches and awareness to this problem at local, regional and national levels.

Additionally, some horizontal measures in the Marine Strategies may include marine litter as a subject among other marine aspects:

  1. Awareness programs for beach tourists, nautical tourism companies, as well as fishermen and civil society in general, including schools.
  2. Training programs for fishermen, observers on board, stranding networks personnel, and training for Public Administration managers.
  3. Development and implementation of a curriculum related to the respect and protection of cetaceans, marine turtles and seabirds as well as marine litter in the ship’s masters official courses (yacht and fishing).


  • Project delays due to COVID-19

Best practices

National level

  1. Monitoring (macrolitter and microplastics) on beaches, floating litter, seabed litter, and also biota (target species differ in each marine region: in Spanish water: marine turtles + other options such as fish or mussels in study). Also citizen science protocol may be of interest.
  2. Implementation of a non-special fee cost recovery system for waste collection from vessels in national ports (implemented since 2011).
  3. Fishing for litter initiatives. These are expected to be harmonised into a national umbrella, but by the moment there are relevant individual initiatives (some of them private) with good coverage in terms of number of ports and experience, that could be shared.

Contact details

Marine Litter within Marine Strategies:
Ms. Marta Martínez-Gil Pardo de Vera. Subdirección General para la Protección del Mar. Ministry for the Ecological Transition. ;

Circular Economy national policy:
Mr. José Luis González Serrano. Sudirección General de Residuos. Ministry for the Ecological Transition.

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