Creating Partnerships to Reduce Marine Waste: The Portuguese Partnership for Marine Waste
With the aim of creating in the future the Portuguese Partnership for the Reduction of Marine Waste (PPLM), understood here as all waste found on beaches, in water and in the bottoms of coastal areas, including rivers, estuaries and their banks, regardless of the its terrestrial or maritime origin, APLM has prepared a Letter of Commitment to be signed by all individuals and organizations from both the public and private sectors, who wish to contribute, through the methods and technology at their disposal, to the reduction of marine litter.
In a vision of partnership, this commitment must be assumed by actors from various sectors, which are listed below as the main ones and in a non-exhaustive way:
Government and central, regional and local administration
Port authorities and fisheries sector entities
Waste and wastewater management entities
Plastic industry, retailers and traders
Scientists and technicians
This represents the first step towards materializing the Partnership structure, which will be governed by Terms of Reference to be agreed between the partners.
The Portuguese Partnership for Marine Waste - Letter of commitment *
We are facing a critical moment in the history of our planet, at a time when global problems such as climate change or pollution by marine litter are the order of the day, and when the need to reverse the current trend of depletion of resources and destruction of the ecosystems that are, after all, the support of life on Earth.
In order to drive positive change, it is vital to join efforts based on ideals of respect for the natural environment and universal human rights.
Knowledge and scientific progress contribute to the perception of the interdependence that unites us, making it clear that the resolution of environmental problems will only be achieved through cooperation between individuals and organizations.
In this sense, the Portuguese Association of Marine Waste (APLM) encourages individuals and organizations to actively participate in the process of creating the Portuguese Partnership for the Reduction of Marine Waste (PPLM), understood here as all waste found on beaches, in water ee deep in coastal areas, including rivers, estuaries and their banks.
PPLM's mission is to mitigate the negative impacts of marine litter in Portugal, on human health, economy and the environment, through measures aimed at the correct management and reduction of waste, whether from land or sea. This partnership also seeks to strengthen international cooperation between social actors, which may lead to the creation of partnerships with the same objective, particularly in Portuguese-speaking countries that are members of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP).
The creation of the PPLM is part of the Global Action Program for the Protection of Marine Ecosystems Threatened by Onshore Activities (GPA), in particular the Global Partnership for Marine Waste (GPML), launched by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 2012.
Described as any persistent solid material, manufactured or processed, that is discarded, disposed of or abandoned in the marine and coastal environment, marine litter is composed of items that have been produced or used by people, being deliberately or accidentally discarded or lost in the sea, rivers or beaches; transported indirectly to the sea through watercourses, storms, winds or by animals. Marine litter consists of a wide variety of materials, plastic, metal, processed wood, rubber, glass, textiles, paper, as well as personal care and medical products, among others. Their proportions in the environment vary regionally, although there is ample evidence that plastic waste accounts for 80 - 90% of all waste found in beaches and coastal areas and also on rivers, estuaries and the seabed.
Current global production and consumption patterns are responsible for major environmental problems, caused, for example, by chemical pollution or deforestation, with unpredictable long-term consequences. The consumption of non-renewable resources at an alarming rate, to meet the needs of an exponentially growing population, puts the existence of countless species, including the human species, at risk.
Although growth patterns are complex and with a differentiated geography, it is possible to reverse or minimize their effects through a change in economic paradigm, moving from the current linear model to a circular system. The contribution of various areas of expertise, technical knowledge and volunteer work through the establishment of partnerships inevitably leads to better environmental education for citizens and decision-makers, contributing to the evolution of more sustainable production and consumption systems.
OBJECTIVES GIVES PPLM
In order to contribute to the reduction of the negative impacts of marine litter in Portugal, APLM encourages all individuals, governmental and non-governmental organizations to join efforts in the creation of the Portuguese Partnership for Marine Litter, which has as its main objective the reduction of ecological and economic impacts of marine litter present on beaches and coastal waters, including rivers, estuaries and their banks, and thereby promote the protection of ecosystems and human health in Portugal.
This partnership will promote the creation of a Technical Committee to be made up of specialist members from different sectors, who will agree on the Terms of Reference by which the PPLM is governed, in order to implement the Honolulu Strategy in Portugal, which establishes a global framework for actions civil society, governments and the private sector, and in particular the OSPAR Regional Action Plan in the North Atlantic for the reduction of marine litter.
APLM will act as an aggregating platform for the Partnership and will develop actions, together with partners, to establish and implement a set of good practices in the public and private sectors, as well as with civil society, covering the production, distribution, marketing and consumption of materials and products, as well as the management and recovery of waste, to prevent them from becoming marine litter.
The development of new approaches to marine litter management that are consistent with adopted international measures and goals is another objective of this partnership.
Having as its main point the Honolulu Commitment, signed in March 2011, PPLM is governed by the following Principles:
Promote a national network of social actors (stakeholders) committed to understanding, preventing, reducing and managing marine litter;
Share information, so that each individual and/or organization can make choices that reduce the waste generated, helping to prevent and reverse the occurrence of marine litter;
Encourage all citizens, industry and governments to assume their co-responsibility and actively contribute to finding solutions to the marine litter problem;
Share technical, legal, political, economic-based solutions or community incentives that help prevent, reduce and manage marine litter;
Promote mechanisms that emphasize the prevention or minimization of waste;
Facilitate initiatives that transform waste into resources in a way that is sustainable for the environment, in a circular vision of the economy;
Establish national targets for the reduction of marine litter;
Improve and promote knowledge, understanding and monitoring of the scale, nature, sources and impacts of marine litter, and raise public awareness of impacts on human health, biodiversity and economic development;
Collaborate with national and international organizations to promote the effectiveness of multilateral initiatives whose objectives are the prevention, reduction and management of marine litter;
Lisbon, September 16, 2016
* The PPLM commitment letter can be signed by any person or organization that identifies with the principles set out therein.