Experts from the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea and international organizations gathered in Busan, Republic of Korea on 4-5 June 2019 to explore ways to address marine pollution in the Yellow Sea. They compared the baseline survey research on marine litter, reviewed related legislation and regulation, and discussed measures to address marine litter in the Yellow Sea.
Their findings were largely positive. As China’s National Marine Environmental Monitoring Center pointed out, “From 2010 to 2018, the average density of beach litter of monitored beaches of the Yellow Sea was reduced from 72,825 to 35,502 items per square kilometre.” And according to Our Sea of East Asia Network (a Korea-based non-governmental organization), “Long-term monitoring by the Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries shows the decreasing accumulation rates around the Korean peninsula and along the western coasts. However, abandoned fishing and aquaculture items and sport fishing gears have still seriously affected endangered birds and their habitats, and navigation safety of naval ships and other vessels.”
The meeting also addressed the source of marine litter. China’s Shandong Marine Resource and Environment Research Institute briefed participants on the status and regulatory measures of marine litter management in Weihai City of China, stating that the city will implement total pollutant control measure in the estuary area and further improve its marine litter monitoring and evaluation system.
The official from Taean, Chongnam Do, Republic of Korea highlighted the importance to establish integrated improvement measures to minimize marine litter through prevention and systematic management.
The Secretariat of the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem Phase II Project updated the meeting on the status of the establishment of the Clean Beach City Alliance—a platform to promote and facilitate the cooperation and exchanges among business, academia, schools and communities at local level in different countries and catalyse result-oriented actions in addressing marine litter. The alliance tackles the issue through a holistic approach at local levels. It will promote technological cooperation to track the source of marine litter and remove the debris from receiving waters, through an exhibit. in a venue yet to be determined. Candidate cities include Qingdao and Wehai in China, and Chungnam Do in the Republic of Korea.
Ning Liu, Programme Officer of Northwest Pacific Action Plan highlighted the importance of controlling marine litter from its sources. He commented on and compared the waste management systems in China and the Republic of Korea. He also introduced the annual Northwest Pacific marine litter management workshop to be held on 24-27 September 2019 in Dalian, China, and invited the delegates to join the workshop to further enhance regional cooperation in addressing marine litter.