IMO is contributing to a United Nations meeting covering marine debris, plastics and microplastics in New York (13-17 June). Discussions are focusing on information exchange between key players involved in the protection of the marine environment – in the context of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which establishes rules governing all uses of the oceans and their resources. IMO’s Stefan Micallef, Director of the Marine Environment Division, took part in a panel on the environmental, social and economic dimensions of marine debris, plastics and microplastics.
He provided an overview of the progress made in preventing reducing and controlling pollution in this field, including an overview of IMO’s work to address this issue. This includes IMO’s MARPOL convention for the prevention of pollution from ships, which bans the disposal of plastics into the sea from ships and generally prohibits the discharge of all garbage into the sea, except in certain very specific circumstances, and the London Convention/Protocol, which in effect bans the dumping of plastics at sea. The Organization is also a co-lead for sea-based litter in the Global Partnership on Marine Litter and manages the GESAMP group of scientific experts, which studies the impact of microplastics in the marine environment.
In addition to this week’s meeting, Stefan Micallef and Fredrik Haag will represent IMO at the annual face to face meeting of UN-Oceans, where recent progress of joint activities, and the 2016-2017 work programme is being discussed.