Marine and Polar


Following are some of IUCN's key resources related to marine plastics and microplastics.  For more information, visit the GMPP Resources page.


Solutions to Plastics in the Ocean - the Baltic and Beyond Photo: IUCN

Solutions to Plastics in the Ocean - the Baltic and Beyond

Summary of a Symposium 13–14 June 2019, arranged by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ Environment and Energy Committee and IUCN. This symposium brought together researchers and experts to exchange knowledge about microplastics in marine environments regarding distribution, degradation and toxicity as well as assessments and managements of risks. Possible solutions and ways forward  were identified within the topics: toxicity; human health & ocean plastics and bioengineered solutions; and microbial and fungal enzymatic degradation. The presentations and panel discussions can be viewed here
Plasticus Mare Balticum Photo: IUCN

Plasticus Mare Balticum

A synthesized collection of five independent research reports on plastic pollution in the Baltic Sea.  This report seeks to share understanding of the roots of plastic polymer pathways to this sea, then moves to defining the nature and extent of the problem, then passes to the impacts on sea ice habitat and marine species of the region. This is followed by a shift to focus on a sense of what is currently happening in the business world to slow or stop plastic effects, what is possible to anticipate for the future, and which responses from industry and regulation by government policy will be most plausible and effective in mitigating the impacts.
Marine Plastic Footprint Calculator Photo: IUCN

The Marine Plastic Footprint

This report provides a novel method to estimate and map sources and quantities of plastic leakage (macro- and microplastics). To demonstrate the value of the methodology, the report presents three case studies that were applied spatially to produce a regional case study focusing on marine plastic leakage into the Baltic Sea, using Geographic Information Systems and two sector-specific studies on plastic leakage in the packaging and textile industries. The document serves to inform key stakeholders and shape actions towards closing the plastic tap.

Plastic Footprint Methodologies cover page Photo: IUCN

Review of plastic footprint methodologies

This publication is part of IUCN’s Close the Plastic Tap Programme and provides a review of existing methodologies to identify the abundance and distribution, types and sources, as well as pathways and sinks of plastic pollution at different scales.


Primary microplastics in the ocean Photo: IUCN


Primary Microplastics in the Oceans: A Global Evaluation of Sources

This publication provides a global estimate and mapping of the sources and quantities of primary microplastics – plastics that enter the oceans in the form of small particles directly released from household and industrial products. This report concluded that invisible particles washed off synthetic clothing and car tyres are the two main contributors of microplastics from primary sources into our oceans.


Microplastiques primaires dans les Oceans - UICN Photo: IUCN

Microplastiques primaires dans les océans : évaluation mondiale des sources

Cette publication fournit une estimation et une cartographie mondiales des sources et des quantités de microplastiques primaires - les plastiques qui pénètrent dans les océans sous forme de petites particules directement libérées par les produits ménagers et industriels. Ce rapport a conclu que les particules invisibles emportées par les vêtements synthétiques et les pneus de voiture sont les deux principaux contributeurs de microplastiques provenant de sources primaires dans nos océans.


Protecting the marine environment from plastic pollution in EU Member States Photo: IUCN



National marine plastic litter policies in EU Member States: an overview

The aim of this report is to provide an overview of national legal instruments in all European Union Member States related to protection of the marine environment from plastic pollution. The report is based on information collected from EU Member States on existing policies directly tackling marine litter at national level.


Marine report on plastics Photo: IUCN




Plastic debris in the Ocean: The Characterization of Marine Plastics and their Environmental Impacts, Situation Analysis Report

This publication was IUCN’s first situation analysis report on marine plastic pollution. In addition to providing a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge of the effects of plastics on marine environments, organisms and ecosystems, this report attempted to identify policy options to find solutions to this urgent issue.



Marine Plastics Issues Brief Photo: Marine Plastics Issues Brief

Overview of Marine Plastics

The IUCN Issues Brief on marine plastics provide an accessible overview.





The Marine Plastic Footprint report

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