09 Aug 2018 Blogpost Oceans & seas

Northwest Pacific countries review progress in monitoring marine and coastal pollution

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Vladivostok, Russian Federation, August 2018 – Four Northwest Pacific countries met in Vladivostok, Russia, at a United Nations expert consultation to review progress in monitoring pollution affecting the region’s seas and coasts, and developing ecological quality measures in support of the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The consultation, organized by the Vladivostok-based Pollution Monitoring Regional Activity Centre (POMRAC) of the UN Environment Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northwest Pacific Region (NOWPAP), was attended by representatives of China, Japan, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation.

The 15th POMRAC Focal Points Meeting, held on 4-5 July 2018, was briefed by experts on POMRAC work in the following areas:

  • developing targets aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the five ecological quality objectives (EcoQOs) for the region agreed on by Member States
  • assessment of trends in river and direct inputs of contaminants affecting the marine and coastal environment in the NOWPAP region during the last decade
  • microplastics abundance in river runoff and coastal waters of the NOWPAP region

Representatives of the NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU), other NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres and partner organizations also attended the meeting.

Dr. Vladimir M. Shulkin, Head of Laboratory, Pacific Geographical Institute, Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok informed the meeting that six NOWPAP EcoQO indicators could be applied in their countries. Agreed indicators include: nutrients concentration in the water column; nutrient ratios (silica, nitrogen and phosphorus); chlorophyll concentration in the water column; harmful algal blooms (НАВs); concentration of the contaminants in sediments, water and organisms; and trends in the amount and composition of litter washed ashore. During the 2018-2019 biennium, POMRAC will focus on an in-depth analysis of the six EcoQO indicators most ready to be applied, national numerical targets of EcoQO indicators and a possible alignment of regional EcoQO targets with SDG indicators.

Dr. Shulkin concluded with a presentation on POMRAC work in assessing river and direct input of contaminants in the Northwest Pacific marine and coastal environment over the last decade.

POMRAC representative Mr. Nikolai Kozlovskii briefed the meeting on the results of the POMRAC study titled “Microplastics abundance in river runoff and coastal waters of the NOWPAP region with a case study in the Russian part of NOWPAP sea area”.

YSLME II representative Dr. Jaeryoung Oh also made a presentation on the second phase of the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (YSLME) Project. Dr. Oh noted that several YSLME activities were relevant to ongoing NOWPAP work on marine litter, including microplastics as well as on EcoQOs.

POMRAC is one of the four NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres which implement the NOWPAP mission to protect and promote sustainable use of the Northwest Pacific marine and coastal environment for present and future generations.