Berlin Series of Workshops on Microplastics

Marine litter including microplastics is an urgent environmental issue for the world oceans including our local Baltic and North Sea. This Issue Paper is based on the results of three workshops organised by the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) and Fraunhofer UMSICHT together with the members of a sub-working group on Microplastics under the umbrella of the Round Table Marine Litter, where more than 80 external experts have been involved.

The report explains the political background and defines important terms. This is followed by the state of knowledge regarding sources, amounts, transfer pathways and fate, environmental concentrations of microplastics in the Baltic and North Sea as well as known and expectable impacts on marine biota and habitats. The main chapter deals with the most important sources for releases of microplastics and appropriate courses of action differentiated between intentially added microplastics and those which result from the usage of products especially by abrasion.

As most important element 28 measures are catgorized and shortly explained, which were  prioritized during the workshops with view to their relvevance for marine protection in ordert to be considered  in the further implementation process of the EU Marine Strategey Framework Directive.