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National efforts of NOWPAP member states to address the marine litter problem


Over the last few years, under the framework of NOWPAP, member states have made significant efforts in improving the marine litter management at national level as well as at regional level through close cooperation. These national efforts will be strengthened through further implementation of NOWPAP RAP MALI, including annual NOWPAP ICC campaigns. The recent developments in RAP MALI implementation are briefly described below.

People’s Republic of China

  • China is paying more attention on the improvement of marine environment, and extends its efforts to establish a nationwide monitoring and supervision network to assess environmental quality and to release the data on a regular basis. State Oceanic Administration (SOA) has been monitoring marine litter at 50 sites along the coastline of China from September to October each year since 2007. Those data have been compiled and made available to the public through their website (in Chinese). Reports on the quality assessment of the marine environment in China have been released annually by SOA and information on current status of marine litter quantities and distribution is included as well.
  • Providing free plastic bags in all shops was prohibited from 1 June 2008.
  • Several domestic laws and regulations related to the marine litter management were amended and enacted: The Circular Economy Promotion Law (2009); Regulations on the Control of Environmental Pollution by Ship-based Wastes (2009); and Regulations on Prevention of Pollution Damage to Marine Environment by Coastal Construction Projects (2007).
  • China has joined the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Campaign in 2007 and thereafter organized the annual ICC campaigns. In 2011, the NOWPAP ICC and workshop on marine litter prevention and control were organized successfully by the Chinese Government in Lianyungang, China.
  • The National 12th Five-Year Plan on Environmental Protection (2011-2015) addresses, among other issues, the pollution in several important estuaries (Yellow River, Yangtze River and Pearl River) with a special attention to the Bohai Sea, an inner sea of China which is adjacent to the Yellow Sea. Efforts are being devoted to preventing land-based pollutants, not only chemical but also solid waste, from reaching the estuaries and sea, as it has been recognized in China that control of land-based pollutant sources (including marine litter) is a crucial step in protecting marine environment. One of the goals of the Five-Year plan is to prevent potential pollution from aquaculture industry as well as from other sources such as disposal of garbage at sea, oil spills, and solid waste dumping.
  • In the 12th Five-Year Plan on Transportation (2011-2015), being carried out mainly by the Ministry of Transportation (MOT), marine litter issue is highlighted among other critical issues. In particular, the plan covers building facilities in major ports to collect waste, thus preventing waste from being accidently lost at sea.
  • New policies are being developed in some provinces to deal with marine litter, including charges for garbage collection/disposal. The central and local governments in China have supported NGOs on ML related activities and the NGOs in Shanghai, Dalian and other coastal cities have been active in recent years.

Japan

  • The Second Fundamental Plan for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society was developed in 2008. According to this plan, the amount of non-recycled garbage final disposal is expected to be 23 million tons by 2015, equivalent to 60% reduction from the 2000 level (approximately 57 million tons).
  • Promoting the market-based instruments, Toyama Prefecture has introduced ban for free distribution of plastic bags at major grocery stores, dry cleaners and supermarkets since 2008 which was the first such initiative at prefecture-wide level. According to the recent survey, after the introduction of such policy instrument, the number of consumers who bring their own bags for shopping has risen to 93% (from 20% before the introduction).
  • The Law for the Promotion of Marine Litter Disposal was enacted in July 2009. The purpose of the law is to promote smooth disposal and reduction of generation of marine litter, in order to conserve the landscape and environment of the coasts. To promote countermeasures pursuant to the law, the central government shall formulate a basic policy and prefectural governments formulate regional plans based upon the Basic Policy (about 30 prefectures have already developed such plans). The law puts emphasis on importance of the collaboration with private and public sectors as well as countermeasures in the remote islands.
  • During 2007-2010 (1st phase 2007-2008 and 2nd phase 2009-2010), the model survey on domestic methodologies for reduction of marine litter quantities was conducted in 18 Prefectures which were severely affected by marine litter. The survey has been implemented in close consultation with various entities including local governments, NGOs, academics, and local citizens.
  • Basic Policy for the Comprehensively and Effectively Promoting Measures against Marine Litter was adopted by the Cabinet in March 2010. This policy describes measures to be implemented against marine litter including smooth disposal and effective reduction of the amount of marine litter, cooperation among relevant bodies and with international community, based on the “Law for the Promotion of Marine Litter Disposal”.
  • Due to 2011 Tohoku earthquake, the marine litter fund (Green New Deal Fund) disbursed to prefectural governments from the central government has been extended to 2012 although original financing period has ended in 2011 (about US$ 60 million was spent by central government to support prefectures) and US$ 100 million has been allocated for 2013-2014. After a long drift in the Pacific Ocean, tsunami debris has begun arriving to the northwest coasts of the United States (Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii) and Canada (British Columbia) in 2012. The Japanese Government has estimated that tsunami after the earthquake in 2011 washed approximately 1.5 million tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean. In order to minimize the burden of local governments in the United States and Canada, the Japanese Government announced in September 2012 that it would provide US$ 6 Million to northwest Pacific states of USA and Canada for tsunami debris cleanup efforts. Some joint activities have been carried out between Japan and US using this funding as well. In line with this effort, International Workshop on Marine Debris, Environmental Monitoring and Disaster Mitigation organized by Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) was held back to back with the 2013 NOWPAP ICC in order to present current status of US-Japan joint activities on modeling of the tsunami debris drift.
  • Guidelines for minimizing waste generation have been developed since 2010 and are currently under revision.

Republic of Korea

  • Marine Environmental Management Act came into force in January 2008 after revision of the Marine Pollution Prevention Act.
  • According to the Marine Environment Management Act, a Marine Litter Management Plan was developed and is being implemented since January 2009. This Act describes protection of the marine and coastal environment from hazardous pollutants (mainly from ships) such as oil, sewage and garbage, as well as measures to be implemented against marine litter.
  • In 2009, Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs has developed “National Integrated Management Strategy for Marine Litter”. Activities under this Strategy are being implemented till 2013 by local governments, research institutes, private sector and NGOs. The strategy suggested the extension of “Charge for Plastic Bags” which had been introduced since 2001 to reduce the use of plastic bags previously provided free of charge by shops and stores. Five major shopping centers have been in compliance with the ban of selling plastic bags since October 2010.
  • Under the Marine Litter Management Plan, a variety of projects are being implemented including management measures and technology development. For sea-based marine litter, projects on the development of biodegradable fishing gear, Styrofoam buoy compactors, and fishing farm cleanup are on-going. For land-based marine litter, projects on the river-basin management and on installing trash-booms in major rivers and waterways are being undertaken. The ongoing projects also include the development of treatment and/or disposal systems, recycling technologies, beach cleanup campaigns, national marine litter monitoring activities and public awareness raising. In addition, the existing projects such as waste fishing gear buyback programme and marked fishing gear project are continued.
  • The Korean government has assisted NOWPAP in promoting marine litter awareness at the Ocean and Coast Best Practice Area of the 2012 Expo in Yeosu, Korea.
  • The 2nd phase of the 5-year “Basic Marine Litter Management Plan” involving 4 ministries and agencies will be implemented from 2014 stressing the role of local governments. New marine litter management centre and marine litter integrated information system (http://info.malic.or.kr) were established in 2011 by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF, previously called Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs) and Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM).
  • Every year about US$ 40 Million is being spent by Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MIFAFF) and about US$ 30 Million by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) for ML removal from fishing grounds and port areas and for the research and development of biodegradable fishing gear and new buoys (to replace easily breakable polystyrene buoys), among other measures.
  • A report of negative impacts of marine litter on wildlife in Korea was recently published in Korean and English by OSEAN (Our Sea of East Asia Network). Click here for details.

Russian Federation

  • Administrations of sea ports under the instruction of the State Marine Pollution Control, Salvage & Rescue Administration have developed “Shipboard Waste Management Plans” in 2009. These plans are intended to specify waste management policy including ship-based collection of garbage and its disposal in the ports. “Clean Port” program has been elaborated to establish Cleanup and Surface Water Pollution Prevention System in the waters of Vladivostok port. It is expected to be functioned through coordination of Administrative bodies (Primorsky Krai Administration), industries, research and academic institutes.
  • The target-oriented program called “Wastes” that has been initiated since 2010, included the following elements: 1) SWOT (Strength-Weakness-Opportunities-Threats) analysis of the existing waste management system; 2) Creating a system of state regulation of (and information support to) waste management activities; 3) Developing regulatory framework in the field of waste management; 4) Starting up a system of environment friendly management of solid domestic waste; 5) Starting up businesses in waste treatment and disinfection; and 6) Raising public awareness and training of experts.
  • In the Russian Far East, the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Campaign was firstly organized in 2007 as a pilot study during the NOWPAP MALITA project. Thereafter, it became the annual event. The last NOWPAP ICC and marine litter workshop were organized successfully in July 2012 in Vladivostok, Russia.
  • During the preparation for the September 2012 APEC summit in Vladivostok, efforts have been exerted by the government to improve the environmental conditions around Vladivostok, such as building sewage treatment plants, recultivating former landfill, etc. Academic institutions have conducted various surveys and expeditions and there is some new information available. However, local NGOs face temporary difficulties in receiving funding (especially from abroad), so their role in marine litter management might decrease in the future.

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This webpage will complie further national efforts to be made in context of NOWPAP RAP MALI.