IMO adopts action plan to address marine plastic pollution from ships

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted an action plan to improve current regulations and roll out new measures to reduce marine plastic litter generated by ships.

The plan has identified a number of measures to achieve its goal, including a planned study on marine plastic litter from ships, exploration of port reception facility availability and adequacy, and encouraging the reporting of fishing gear loss.

It also aims to strengthen international cooperation, particularly the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Environment, as well as improve public awareness.

In a statement, IMO said: “The Action Plan notes that marine plastic litter enters the marine environment as a result of a wide range of land and sea-based activities.

“Marine plastic litter negatively impacts on activities such as tourism, fisheries and shipping.”

IMO is expected to regularly review and, if required, update the new action plan.

The organisation’s existing International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) regulation prohibits dumping plastics into the sea and mandates the governments to guarantee the availability of adequate port reception facilities to receive ship waste.

IMO’s London Convention and Protocol is designed to only allow the dumping of permitted materials, including the ones generated from dredging. However, these materials are required to be evaluated before dumping to ensure harmful materials such as plastics are not released into the sea.