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


Actions and Progress on Marine Plastic Litter
Last Update : 2020/03/17

Policy framework

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. Program of measures on Marine Litter (2016-2021) – Marine Strategies

A1. Prevention. Sea-based sources.

  1. Implementation of a non-special fee cost recovery system for waste collection from vessels in regional ports (already implemented in national ports since 2011). This is in line with the new European Directive 2019/883 of the Parliament and of the Council on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships. The new European Directive will be transposed to national legislation and implementation will follow accordingly.
  2. Promotion of projects and initiatives for:
    • Innovation in materials for fishing sector processes and technologies.
    • Improving waste management on board in fishing vessels or aquaculture facilities.
    • Analysis of the possibility of recycling specific fishing materials as EPS boxes or fishing nets.
    • Improving waste facilities in fishing and recreational ports

Funds will be managed by Biodiversity Foundation through a call for projects (PLEAMAR) in the framework of European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Spanish Operative Programme.

  1. Improvement of waste management in ports.

A2. Prevention. Land-based sources.

  1. Study on the characteristics and amounts microplastics from wastewater treatment plants.
  2. Research on ecological aspects of microplastics. Co-financing Pilot action JPI Oceans 2015-2018. Projects: BASEMAN, EPHEMARE, PLASTOX.
  3. Study on sources of microplastics (national scope). Published:
    Additionally, methodologies to monitor macrolitter and microplastics in rivers are being developed, as rivers are a main pathway of litter into the sea.


A3. Removal of marine litter from the sea

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Protocol for inventory, classification, assessment and controlled removal of “ghost nets”, as part of LIFE INTEMARES European project.
  4. Study on hotspots at sea and focused cleaning surveys.

A4. Raise-awareness

  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).


B. Circular Economy national policy

B.1. Information Improvement/ Data Collection

  1. Finalize the development of the Marine Litter Monitoring Program in the five Spanish marine subdivisions and in the context of the implementation of a national fishing litter scheme, development of a methodology for harmonized data collection, the development of the corresponding database and the identification of suitable areas to program and execute illustrative actions.
  2. Action protocol in case of finding lost or abandoned fishing gear that represents a threat to the conservation of habitats and species, development and maintenance of a national database, and preparation of a study on cases where it would be adequate to develop and execute an illustrative action.
  3. Identification of hotspots, as well as targeted cleaning campaigns identified as environmentally sensitive, applied to the fields of both litter and waste abandoned in the land environment.
  4. -Adoption of a methodology for monitoring litter and microplastics in rivers.
  5. -In the field of land wastes, development of a methodology that allows characterizing waste, and collection and analysis of information based on such methodology.

B.2. Awareness and Participation

1- National communication campaign mainly aimed at:

  • Raise awareness of the effects of the abandonment of scattered litter and other inappropriate forms of waste disposal in public land areas and in the marine environment, especially single-use plastics and fishing gear containing plastic.
  • In particular, sensitize, train and inform citizens about the importance of their contribution to the reduction of the “habit” of excessive consumption of single-use plastics in general, and about the importance of properly managing the waste of wet wipes, as well as avoiding the abandonment of cigarette butts in public spaces, including beaches.
  • The availability of reusable alternatives, reuse systems and waste management options available for those single-use plastic products and for fishing gear containing plastic, as well as best practices in the field of rational waste management .
  • The impact the improper disposal of waste from single-use plastic products has on the sewerage system.

2.-Collaboration in campaigns promoted by civil society, providing that these campaigns are aligned with the communication strategy.

3.- Campaigns in National Parks aimed at preventing the abandonment of litter

B.3. Regulatory measures and planning

1.- Development of an action protocol for lost or abandoned fishing gear that constitute a threat to marine habitats.

2.- Rainwater management measures, with the aim of improving the retention of plastics. These measures include the installation of floating retention systems in rainwater spillways, the construction of storm tanks in large cities or the installation of separative networks in new developments.

3.- the future Law on waste and contaminated soil (currently under preparation) will include some measures:

– The prohibition of incineration or landfilling of waste collected separately for preparation for reuse and recycling

– Measures to identify, prevent and reduce the products that constitute the main sources of scattered waste,

– Measures to reduce the consumption of some plastic packaging

– Establish the obligation, as of January 1, 2022, of the classification in origin of the plastic waste of the construction and demolition sector, as well as the selective classification in the demolition sector.

4.- Creation of a national fishing litter scheme

B.4. Public-private collaboration

1.- Creation of public-private collaboration working groups.

2.- Promotion of agreements with other interested parties such as environmental organizations, consumer and user organizations, scientific institutions, etc., in order to develop collaborative projects.

B.5. Specific measures directed to microplastics

1.- Strengthening of the microplastics working group established by the Ministry for Ecological Transition, in order to improve knowledge of the impact of microplastics on the environment and health.

2.- Carrying out a study on the quantities of microplastics from wastewater treatment plants, and developing a proposal of specific measures

3.- Analysis of the information available on the production, as well as on the unintentional release of microplastics, in the textile and tires sectors, and develop a proposal of corrective measures.

4.- Prohibition of the introduction into the market of hygiene, cosmetic and cleaning products containing intentionally added plastic microspheres (proposed from July 1, 2021, but pending of the time of adoption of new law on waste and contaminated soils)


The Program of measures on marine litter is under implementation until 2021. The progress made in each measures is variable.

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

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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