European Union External Action

Ocean Plastics Lab: understanding and tackling the problem of plastics in the ocean through science

12/04/2018 - 14:01
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Imagine 8 million tons of plastic… or 310.000 shipping containers filled with plastic… this is the amount of plastic being dumped into the ocean worldwide… every year. The consequences are dramatic. “Our oceans are in danger. By 2050 they could contain more plastic than fish,” EU High Representative Mogherini had announced at the #OurOcean Conference in Malta last October. The Ocean Plastics Lab is an international travelling exhibition showcasing the contribution of science to understand and combat the problem of plastics in the ocean. The exhibition is currently located at the Esplanade Solidarność 1980, at the European Parliament.

Ocean Plastics Lab exhibition, ocean governance, #OurOcean, ocean plastics, maritime security, environment, sustainable development, United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, beach clean up, awareness, commitment, engagement

After Paris and Turin, the Ocean Plastics Lab exhibition arrived in Brussels on 9 April and will be open to the public until 19 April. Visitors of all ages are invited to enter four shipping containers to gain an insight into current international research on marine pollution, and are encouraged to engage on scientific work in progress around the world, including projects funded by the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

On the occasion of EU Ocean week last year, the European Commission and HR/VP Mogherini published a Communication on Ocean Governance on 10 November. The communication sets out 3 priority areas of work which provide a plan of action on both maritime security and environmental issues:

  1. Improving the international ocean governance framework
  2. Reducing human pressure on the oceans and creating the conditions for a sustainable blue economy
  3. Strengthening international ocean research and data

"With this Joint Communication, we confirm our engagement to be at the frontline in the implementation of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, for the benefit of EU citizens and the whole world,” Mogherini had stated.

In anticipation of lasts year’s #OurOcean conference, EU staff and their families took part in beach cleanups to raise awareness about marine litter. Colleagues in Delegations around the world followed suit and were called on to continue engaging in this activity and promoting this initiative in their respective countries because together, we can restore the health of our ocean and keep its waters clean and productive for present and future generations.

The Ocean Plastics Lab exhibition was initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, with the support of the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation and the SEARICA Intergroup of the European Parliament, and is managed by the German Marine Research Consortium.

The exhibition in Brussels is open daily from 09.00-20.00 (weekends 10.00-19.00).

For 2018, the next Ocean Plastics Lab stops are planned in: