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    Marine and Polar


    Following are some of IUCN's key resources related to marine plastics and microplastics.? For more information, visit the GMPP?Resources page.




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    Microplastics in the Baltic Microplastics in the Baltic - IUCN film Photo: IUCN

    Distribution and impacts of microplastic incorporation within sea ice

    Marine Pollution bulletin article covering the results and findings from field studies in the Gulf of Bothnia (Baltic Sea) and at the?Sea-ice Environmental Research Facility (SERF), University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, in 2018.

    The Mediterranean: Mare Plasticum The Mediterranean: Mare Plasticum Photo: IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme

    The Mediterranean:?Mare plasticum

    The Mediterranean has?been the birthplace of?incredible civilisations?– Egyptian, Hellenistic,?Roman and Ottoman –?but also the graveyard?of plastics.?

    A first step towards action is to identify and quantify the most critical types of plastics?and plastic products discharged into the?Mediterranean Sea. The report?refines the?estimates of the quantity of plastic currently?floating into the Mediterranean, based on a?compilation of data from field studies and using?the footprint methodology to estimate the yearly?input of plastic into the Mediterranean Sea.?The report also assesses the efficiency of a?series of actions currently undertaken? around?the Mediterranean basin and, coupled with?the modelling of hotspots for priority action,?recommends targeted priorities for the countries?bordering the sea.

    National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action Photo: IUCN

    National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action - Introduction to the methodology

    In 2019, the UN Environment Assembly highlighted the importance of a harmonised methodology to measure plastic flows and leakage along the value chain. However, countries and cities are still faced with a key knowledge gap in understanding the magnitude of the challenge and in need of tools to address the root sources of the problem. Co-developed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action contributes to?filling this gap. The Guidance provides a methodological framework and practical tools applicable at different geographical scales and also offers an effective interface between science-based assessments and policy making.

    Solutions to Plastics in the Ocean - the Baltic and Beyond Solutions to Plastics in the Ocean - the Baltic and Beyond Photo: IUCN

    Solutions to Plastics in the Ocean - the Baltic and Beyond

    Summary of a Symposium 13–14 June 2019, arranged by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ Environment and Energy Committee and IUCN. This symposium brought together researchers and experts to exchange knowledge about microplastics in marine environments regarding distribution, degradation and toxicity as well as assessments and managements of risks. Possible solutions and ways forward? were identified within the topics: toxicity; human health & ocean plastics and bioengineered solutions; and microbial and fungal enzymatic degradation. The presentations and panel discussions can be viewed here

    Plasticus Mare Balticum Plasticus Mare Balticum Photo: IUCN

    Plasticus Mare Balticum

    A synthesized collection of five independent research reports on plastic pollution in the Baltic Sea.??This report seeks to share understanding of the roots of plastic polymer pathways to this sea, then moves to defining the nature and extent of the problem, then passes to the impacts on sea ice habitat and marine species of the region. This is followed by a shift to focus on a sense of what is currently happening in the business world to slow or stop plastic effects, what is possible to anticipate for the future, and which responses from industry and regulation by government policy will be most plausible and effective in mitigating the impacts.

    Marine Plastic Footprint Calculator Marine Plastic Footprint Calculator Photo: IUCN

    The Marine Plastic Footprint

    This report provides a novel method to estimate and map sources and quantities of plastic leakage (macro- and microplastics). To demonstrate the value of the methodology, the report presents three case studies that were applied spatially to produce a regional case study focusing on marine plastic leakage into the Baltic Sea, using Geographic Information Systems and two sector-specific studies on plastic leakage in the packaging and textile industries. The document serves to inform key stakeholders and shape actions towards closing the plastic tap.

    Plastic Footprint Methodologies cover page Plastic Footprint Methodologies cover page Photo: IUCN

    Review of plastic footprint methodologies

    This publication is part of IUCN’s Close the Plastic Tap Programme and provides a review of existing methodologies to identify the abundance and distribution, types and sources, as well as pathways and sinks of plastic pollution at different scales.


    Primary microplastics in the ocean Photo: IUCN


    Primary Microplastics in the Oceans: A Global Evaluation of Sources

    This publication provides a global estimate and mapping of the sources and quantities of primary microplastics – plastics that enter the oceans in the form of small particles directly released from household and industrial products. This report concluded that invisible particles washed off synthetic clothing and car tyres are the two main contributors of microplastics from primary sources into our oceans.


    Microplastiques primaires dans les Oceans - UICN Microplastiques primaires dans les Oceans - UICN Photo: IUCN

    Microplastiques primaires dans les océans : évaluation mondiale des sources

    Cette publication fournit une estimation et une cartographie mondiales des sources et des quantités de microplastiques primaires - les plastiques qui pénètrent dans les océans sous forme de petites particules directement libérées par les produits ménagers et industriels. Ce rapport a conclu que les particules invisibles emportées par les vêtements synthétiques et les pneus de voiture sont les deux principaux contributeurs de microplastiques provenant de sources primaires dans nos océans.


    Protecting the marine environment from plastic pollution in EU Member States Photo: IUCN



    National marine plastic litter policies in EU Member States: an overview

    The aim of this report is to provide an overview of national legal instruments in all European Union Member States related to protection of the marine environment from plastic pollution. The report is based on information collected from EU Member States on existing policies directly tackling marine litter at national level.


    Marine report on plastics Photo: IUCN




    Plastic debris in the Ocean: The Characterization of Marine Plastics and their Environmental Impacts, Situation Analysis Report

    This publication was IUCN’s first situation analysis report on marine plastic pollution. In addition to providing a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge of the effects of plastics on marine environments, organisms and ecosystems, this report attempted to identify policy options to find solutions to this urgent issue.



    Marine Plastics Issues Brief Photo: Marine Plastics Issues Brief

    Overview of Marine Plastics

    The IUCN?Issues Brief on marine plastics provide an accessible overview.



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