International Forum on Marine Litter and Circular Economy
Wednesday 10th April
What did we aim at?The goal of the session was:
- Give an overview of marine litter issues taking into account the circular economy as one of the solutions to this problem. In this session different institutions, such as the Regional Seas Conventions, EU Member States, regional and municipal governments and the AEBAM, intervened.
- Pilar Zorzo, President of the AEBAM (Spanish Marine Litter Association)
- Pilar Zorzo - President of the Spanish Marine Litter Association
- Juan Antonio Romero - Director of Seville Aquarium
- Begoña de Benito - Director of External Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility - ECOEMBES
- Mohamad Kayyal - Programme management officer at MEDPOL, UN Environment/MAP
- Mª Carmen Clarisa Castreño – First Deputy Mayor and delegate for the economy, commerce and institutional relations of Seville city council
Pilar Zorzo introduced the Spanish Marine Litter Association (AEBAM). She explained that the aim of the creation of MARLICE 2019 was to provide a place for all those concerned about marine litter pollution and who wants to move towards a circular economy, as well as to build synergies between projects and entities from both Mediterranean and Atlantic regions.
She introduced MARLICE 2019 and gave information about the 3-day schedule.
Firstly, Juan Antonio Romero talked about the environmental problems of the seas and the important role that aquariums play in this, due to their active work on marine litter issues and public awareness. He explained that during the "Our Ocean conference" in Malta in 2017 an agreement between aquariums worldwide was signed to work together against marine litter playing a relevant role in the dissemination of events and raising awareness. Up today there are 182 aquariums participating in this programme from 41 countries.
Begoña de Benito mentioned the United Nations, when in 2015 they first talked about Sustainable Development Goals and how to achieve them by 2030. She highlighted the role of the Circular Economy in the fight against marine litter and how Ecoembes has been working for 20 years so that the packaging has the lowest impact on the environment, generating less waste.
She mentioned the three axes on which the Circular Economy is based: collaboration, innovation and education; and gave some initiatives from Ecoembes, such as field activities with scholars. To end, she remarked that Ecoembes was strongly committed to being part of the development of the answer to the problems discussed in the forum.
Mohamad Kayyal highlighted that the forum was a good opportunity to bring together private and public companies from different regions and countries, since marine litter is a cross-border problem (owning to ocean currents) that needs cooperation between different locations. He mentioned that plastics account for 95% of floating marine litter and more than 40% of benthic litter.
He also mentioned the UNEP/MAP meeting that took place two days before the Forum, in which the situation of marine litter in the Mediterranean and the need for measures in the Regional Action Plan were discussed. Following the same idea, he talked about the last United Nations meeting held in Nairobi, where the issue of marine litter (mostly single-use plastics) and the need for an Action Plan played an important role.
Mari Carmen Clarisa Castreño mentioned that sustainable development must start with the administration, regulating and managing the use of single-use products. She also stressed the important role of the city council in the protection of the oceans from the origin of the plastics, then she mentioned the Seville City Council initiatives to move towards the Circular Economy. This is further supported by the promotion of the Declaration of Seville and the commitment to form part of the Pact of Amsterdam (document setting out the Urban Agenda of the European Union). She finished by recalling that this year is the commemoration of the 500 years of the first circumnavigation of Elcano and Magallanes, which began in the Guadalquivir River in Seville.