Marine Litter

Law / Policy

The Honolulu Strategy: A Global Framework for Prevention and Management of Marine Debris

2016 | UNEP

The marine debris problem is global in scale and intergenerational in impact. Marine debris, or marine litter, is defined to include any anthropogenic, manufactured, or processed solid material (regardless of size) discarded, disposed of, or abandoned that ends up in the marine environment. It includes, but is not limited to, plastics, metals, glass, concrete and other construction materials, paper and cardboard, polystyrene, rubber, rope, textiles, timber and hazardous materials, such as munitions, asbestos and medical waste. In some instances, marine debris may also be a vessel for dangerous pollutants that are eventually released into the marine environment. Marine debris may result from activities on land or at sea.

Case Studies

IUCN Regional Marine Programme: A Strategy for Asia



UNEP/IOC Guidelines on Survey and Monitoring of Marine Litter


These guidelines offer a comparative analysis of information from around the world on existing experiences and methods for surveys, monitoring, reporting protocols and assessment of marine litter.

Guidelines on the Use of Market-based Instruments to Address the Problem of Marine Litter

2009 | UNEP