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Efforts by Non-governmental Organizations to address marine litter

NGOs have been playing an important role in promoting public awareness on marine litter and galvanizing local actions. Ocean Conservancy advocates International Coastal Cleanup campaign all over the world with collecting, classifying, analyzing and reporting data on marine litter. Clean Up the World, a similar environmental campaign, inspires and empowers communities around the globe to clean up and conserve their environment. Efforts made by other NGOs such as 5 Gyres and Project Kaisei which document and validate information on the scope and status of marine litter through their expeditions have also attracted great public attention to the issue of marine litter.

NGOs in the NOWPAP region are also very actively involved in various campaigns and projects to tackle the issue of marine litter, for example, JEAN, OCEAN and OSEAN have been campaigning the ICC at the local level for many years and contributed to the implementation of the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter.

Highlights of NGOs activities in the NOWPAP region

Shanghai Rendu
co-organized an ocean forum

Shanghai Rendu, the coordinating body for the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) in China, co-organized an ocean forum on 2-5 December 2015 in Haikou, China.  The event attracted more than 150 participants from government-affiliated organizations, NGOs, academic institutions and media to share their experiences and thoughts for the conservation of marine environment.  At one session dedicated to marine litter, Rendu introduced its nation-wide project on marine litter monitoring.  A status report together with a list of NGOs devoted to marine conservation in China was produced as an output of the forum.

(updated on 11 January 2016)

Stemming the Tide

Ocean Conservancy on 30 September 2015 announced the global launch of Stemming the Tide: Land-based strategies for a plastic-free ocean – a first-of-its-kind, solutions-oriented report in partnership with the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment that outlines specific land-based solutions for plastic waste in the ocean, starting with the elimination of plastic waste leakage in five priority countries.

(updated on 5 October 2015)

Race for Water Odyssey (R4WO)

In April 2015, an expedition aboard a sailing boat has started from Europe with the goal to visit all 5 ocean gyres accumulating marine litter.  The expedition is called “Race for Water Odyssey” (R4WO).  Their progress is shown on the internet at  UNEP is supporting the expedition and UNEP logo is displayed on the boat.

In late July 2015, R4WO team was visiting Tokyo during their stop-over in Japan.  A series of events was organized in collaboration with Japanese environmental NGOs and researchers working on marine litter (ML) issues.  On 24 July, a roundtable discussion on marine litter issue was organized at the Swiss Embassy in Tokyo.  NOWPAP representative attended the event, along with Japanese researchers, environmental NGOs, and representatives of the Ministry of Environment of Japan.

NOWPAP representative made a presentation describing UNEP efforts in dealing with marine litter starting from UNEP initiative on ML in 2003 (with regional and global ML assessments), the 5th International Marine Debris Conference in Honolulu in 2011 (with Honolulu Strategy and Honolulu Commitment adopted), and then GPML establishment at the Rio+20 Conference in 2012 (including online Marine Litter Network).  UNEA resolution on plastic debris and subsequent study were also mentioned along with major UNEP publications already produced and expected to be available in 2015-2016.  NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI) was briefly introduced with a few examples.

A box of marine litter-related publications produced by NOWPAP in recent years has been sent to the Swiss Embassy in advance and these materials were available for all participants.

At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that it would be beneficial to stay in touch and share information.

(updated on 27 July 2015)

News from East Asia Civil Forum on Marine Litter

- In the June issue of the Newsletter, various activities in 2015 are reported ranging from regional contribution to the GESAMP global assessment of microplastics to local efforts in addressing the issue of marine litter in the region (China, Japan Korea) and beyond (Canada).  For more details, please check the Newsletter.

- In the November issue of the Newsletter, several events in 2014, among others, are highlighted as follows:

·        12th Marine Litter Summit in Yamagata, Japan.

·        Northwest Pacific Regional Node of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter.

·        Marine Litter Session at the PICES Annual Meeting in Yeosu, Korea.

·        Impact of Marine Litter on Wildlife - a side event of CBD COP-12 in Pyeongchang, Korea.

For more details, please check the Newsletter.

(updated on 10 December 2014)

The 12th Marine Litter Summit in Japan

A NOWPAP representative attended the 12th Marine Litter Summit on 25-26 July 2014 in Tsuruoka city, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, together with 120 people from central and local governments, academia and NGOs dealing with marine litter in Japan and beyond.  The forum was divided into 4 sessions covering overall activities on marine litter in river basins and coastal areas, response measures, management plans and strategies addressing river-based marine litter.  The NOWPAP representative introduced NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI) and also informed the meeting about the upcoming NOWPAP ICC and workshop to be held in Boryeong, Korea in September 2014.

(updated on 5 August 2014)

- In the newsletter (December 2013), several activities are highlighted as follows:
  • 2013 ICC in Korea was held in September and October at 58 sites with a participation of 8,000 citizens.

  • In Japan, 2013 ICC was also held with a participation of more than 4,500 local people.

  • Korea Marine Litter Institute (KMLI) was established by OSEAN (Our Sea of East Asia Network) in August 2013 to carry out research activities.

  • For more details, please check the Newsletter.

- In the newsletter (June 2013), you will find out the followings:
  • The APEC Marine Environmental Training and Education Center (AMETEC) training workshop on marine litter was organized at the branch of the Korea Institute of Ocean and Science Technology (KIOST) located in Geoje in June 2013 for ten ICC coordinators from Asian countries. The purpose of the workshop was to provide information on the current situation of marine litter and ways to enhance public awareness.

  • In Japan, more than 26,000 citizens participated in the Clean-up campaigns in 2012 and collected 35 tons of marine litter. Report on 2012 Cleanup campaigns in Japan is available at JEAN website at

  • In Korea, annual forum on marine litter was held in February 2013 in Tongyeoung.

  • For more details, please check the Newsletter.

 (updated on 5 February 2014)
NGO Meeting on Marine Litter Monitoring in Korea

NOWPAP representative attended the NGO meeting on marine litter monitoring in Korea held on 19 December 2013 in Seoul (which was organized by Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation, KOEM) and delivered the results of the 2013 NOWPAP ICC campaign and workshop. Representatives of 19 NGOs involved in marine litter monitoring program in Korea participated in the meeting and shared the results for 2013 as well as their ideas on how to improve marine litter monitoring.

 (updated on 23 January 2014)
NGOs in China

With a financial support from the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), a national report on the role of environmental NGOs in China has been published in December 2013. The report covers the following topics: (a) legal status of NGOs, (b) activities carried out by the environmental NGOs, (c) collaboration between NGOs and local governments and (d) future developments.

 (updated on 23 January 2014)
2013 Marine Litter Summit in Japan

NOWPAP representative attended the Marine Litter Summit on 20-21 November 2013 in Tokyo, where participants from environmental NGOs, central and local governments discussed ways of dealing with marine litter in Japan and in the region. The summit also introduced recent study missions by the Japan Environmental Action Network (JEAN) and Ocean Conservancy (OC) to the northwest coasts of the US and Canada where 2011 tsunami debris has arrived. NOWPAP supported the summit and RCU representative delivered presentation to share the outcomes of the 2013 NOWPAP ICC campaign and workshop held in Okinawa, Japan, in October 2013.

 (updated on 23 January 2014)
JEAN collaboration with NGOs in the United States

EAN (Japan Environmental Action Network) conducted a field survey in Alaska from 25 June to 2 July 2013 on Tohoku tsunami debris, which has been carried away from the coasts of tsunami hit areas as a result of March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and drifted down to the shores of the North America. Earlier in 2013, JEAN also held field surveys on Tohoku tsunami debris in Hawaii and Oregon, U.S.A. JEAN has been actively collaborating with local NGOs in the US west coast on tsunami debris and its impact on marine ecosystems.

For details, please visit the following website (in Japanese):

 (updated on 19 July 2013)
2013 International forum on waste management in river basins

2013 International forum on waste management in river basins was organized by Our Sea of East Asia Network (OSEAN) and Yeongnam Sea Grant Center in Geoje, Korea, on 15 May 2013. Participants of the event were from central and local authorities, research institutions and NGOs in Korea as well as from Japan Environmental Action Network (JEAN) and Osaka University of Commerce. The forum reviewed three case studies on waste management in river basins presented by Korean and Japanese experts. Marine litter management policy in estuaries (and waste management in watersheds) in the Republic of Korea was also reviewed. The forum was ended with hearing experiences and ideas shared by all participants for policy makers on how to develop watershed waste management measures in the future.

 (updated on 24 May 2013)

JEAN meetings on their activities on marine litter generated by 2011 tsunami

JEAN has been implementing a project sponsored by the Japanese government to address the marine litter generated by the 2011 tsunami through collaborating with the environmental NGOs in North America (carrying out beach cleanups and sharing data and information collected on the tsunami marine litter). On 14-17 March 2013 JEAN organized three meetings in Tokyo and Sendai to report to the public their activities for the implementation of the project, including the two field study tours to Hawaii and Oregon to investigate tsunami marine litter arrived there.

 (updated on 22 March 2013)