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Single-use plastics and fishing gear: Reducing marine litter [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Didier Bourguignon (3rd edition, updated on 28.11.2018),

Marine pollution: plastic waste on the beach.

© Arcansél / Fotolia

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year.

In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding the top 10 single-use plastics found on European beaches, as well as fishing gear, with a view to reducing their impact on the environment and ensuring a functional internal market.

Both the European Parliament and the Council have adopted their position on the proposal. Interinstitutional trilogue negotiations started on 6 November 2018.

Interactive PDF

Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment
Committee responsible: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) COM(2018) 340

Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)

Rapporteur: Frédérique Ries (ALDE, Belgium)
Shadow rapporteurs:




Karl-Heinz Florenz (EPP, Germany)
Massimo Paolucci (S&D, Italy)
Mark Demesmaeker (ECR, Belgium)
Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL, Ireland)
Margrete Auken (Greens/EFA, Denmark)
Piernicola Pedicini (EFDD, Italy)
Sylvie Goddyn (ENF, France)
Next steps expected: Continuing trilogue negotiations

Stage: Trilogue

Marine litter on EU beaches, by count (2016)

Marine litter on EU beaches, by count (2016)

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