New regional plans for the reduction of land-based pollution in the Mediterranean
The Barcelona Convention, which has been signed by 21 Mediterranean States and the European Union and forms the legal framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP MAP), includes, among others, the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (LBS Protocol).
According to the requirements of the LBS Protocol, 10 Regional Plans were adopted from 2009 to 2013 for the reduction of land-based pollution from the following types of pollutants: mercury, various persistent organic pollutants (POPs), organic load from urban wastewater as well as from the food sector and marine litter.
During the 20th ordinary meeting of the UNEP MAP Contracting Parties last December in Tirana, a decision was made for the development of 6 new Regional Plans regarding:
- Municipal wastewater treatment
- Sewage sludge management
- Agriculture nutrients management
- Aquaculture nutrients management
- Urban storm water management
- Marine Litter
On 20-21 November 2018, a regional meeting of experts took place in Athens with the participation of representatives of Mediterranean States and environmental organizations, including HELMEPA, with a view to discuss the initial proposals on the structure, the main elements and targets and the timeline for the development and the submittal of the plans for approval.
As far as marine litter is concerned, it is noted that the new Regional Plan will be based on the one already in place since 2013, which will be expanded with measures and targets on single use plastics and microplastics, along the lines set by the EU Plastics Strategy.
The proposals that came out of the meeting will form the basis for the development of the new plans, which are expected to be submitted for adoption by the Mediterranean States in December 2019 or December 2021, at the latest.