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NOWPAP Continues Campaign on Marine Litter

Jeju, RO Korea — On 1-2 October 2010, NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) campaign and workshop on marine litter were held in Jeju, Republic of Korea. The events were organized by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs (MLTM), Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM) and the Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) of NOWPAP, or the Northwest Action Plan. The workshop was attended by NOWPAP Marine Litter Focal Points, representatives from NOWPAP partners (YSLME, COBSEA and PEMSEA) and all NOWPAP Regional Activity Centers (RACs), leading NGOs dealing with marine litter in the region (OSEAN and JEAN) as well as local citizens and experts concerned about negative impacts of marine litter.

During the workshop, participants presented and discussed the results of marine litter monitoring and ICC campaigns in NOWPAP member states. The trends in marine litter composition during the recent 10-20 years were compared with the results of the ICC campaigns around the world (compiled in annual reports by the Ocean Conservancy). Policies and best practices in dealing with marine litter were also presented and discussed. Workshop participants agreed that the focus should be shifted to marine litter sources and that some government policies (e.g., ban on smoking in certain areas and ban on plastic bags) result in decrease of marine litter quantities. During the discussions, representatives from NGOs and local citizens indicated that more government support (direct and indirect) is needed to deal with marine litter efficiently.On 2 October, workshop participants were involved in a beach cleanup along with dozens of local citizens who collected about a hundred sacks of garbage from the rocky beach. Experts from NOWPAP member states sorted and counted garbage using the ICC data card and found that the most predominant items were: (1) buoys and floats; (2) glass bottles; and (3) caps and lids. Many small medicine bottles were also found.The events marked the 10th anniversary of the ICC campaigns in RO Korea. The next NOWPAP ICC campaign and workshop (focused on dealing with sources of marine litter) will be organized in PR China in 2011.