The centrepiece of the European Commission’s strategy for the coming 5 years is the European Green Deal1. It aims to tackle the climate and environmental-related challenges, these are this generation’s defining tasks. In order to make sure this ambitious strategy extends to the oceans, and addresses, amongst others, concerns about overfishing, warming of the oceans, plastic pollution and the overall destruction of our marine ecosystem, Renew Europe organised the "Sustainable Oceans for the Future – Green Blue Deal" conference last Wednesday.
One of the actions of the European Green Deal is an industrial strategy for a clean and circular economy1. This actions aims to improve sustainability and reduce the waste produced in industrial sectors like textile, construction, electronics and plastics. With this strategy, the European Commission is building on its Plastic Strategy which introduced new rules banning single-use plastic items in 2019. Huge amounts of plastic and other waste, an estimated 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes each year, finds its way to the ocean which already contains up to 150 million tonnes of plastic. Once there, it threatens marine life and as it degrades into micro plastics, it may even travel up the food chain and onto our plates. As such, a European Green deal focussing on a circular economy will benefit the oceans, marine life and society at large. To illustrate the problem of marine plastic pollution and the urgency for concrete action, the map of week features the relative proportions of different materials found at the seabed of our European seas.
The data in this map were provided by EMODnet Chemistry.