UN report finds marine debris harming more than 800 species, costing countries millions

February 2, 2017

Marine debris is negatively affecting more than 800 animal species and causing serious losses to many countries’ economies, according to a United Nations report published in December 2016, written by BLUE’s Head of Conservation, Simon Harding.

The report, Marine Debris: Understanding, Preventing and Mitigating the Significant Adverse Impacts on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity found that the number of species affected by marine debris has increased from 663 to 817 since 2012. It also warned that this type of waste, which is mostly made of plastic, is an increasing threat to human health and well-being, and is costing countries billions of dollars each year.

A brief summary of the report is available here.

Image credit: Marine waste, mainly fishing gear, being collected on the beaches of Northwest Spitsbergen, Norway. Photo: UNEP GRID Arendal/Peter Prokosch