Marine Litter and Microplastics


Task Team on Marine Litter and Microplastics

Marine litter originates from many sources and causes a wide spectrum of environmental, economic, safety, health and cultural impacts.  Roughly 80 per cent of marine pollution originates on land. To address this, strong coordinated action is needed. 

In 2017, the UN Environment Assembly took steps to establish an Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics (AHEG) to explore barriers to combating marine litter and microplastics (UNEP/EA.3/Res.7). Two years later it adopted a resolution UNEP/EA.4/Res.6 on the importance of strengthened coordination and multi-stakeholder cooperation on this issue, inviting the EMG to engage with and contribute to the AHEG.

The EMG responded by establishing a Task Team on Marine Litter and Microplastics. As outlined in its Terms of Reference, the purpose of the Task Team is to expand UN system involvement and strengthen the coordination of UN-system support to Member States in addressing the global challenge posed by marine litter.

The Task Team has prepared the following report:

This report is a first step towards expanding UN system-wide collaboration and expertise through a more integrated inter-agency approach.


The first meeting of the Task Team was held virtually on the 24th of October 2019. The meeting considered its draft Terms of Reference and heard a presentation from UNEP on ‘Entry points for tackling marine litter and microplastics.’ The minutes of the meeting can be downloaded here.

For more information, or to join the Task Team, please contact