Marine litter is one of the world's largest challenges for environmental policy. Plastic waste in particular causes huge environmental harm. To safeguard the functions of oceans, the Federal Environment Ministry is, for the first time, launching a call for funding under its grant programme against marine litter. From today, applications can be submitted for projects that make an active contribution to sustainable production, distribution and consumption, and thus to waste prevention. Projects that secure proper waste management with environmentally sound disposal and recycling structures in emerging economies and developing countries are also eligible.
Several million tonnes of plastic waste enter the oceans every year. They not only pose a direct threat to marine species. They also have clear impacts on humans and the environment: plastic that enters the oceans reaches the food chain and impairs the functioning of marine ecosystems as a whole. The programme "Marine Debris Network – Regional hubs around the globe" (Marine:DeFRAG) aims to counteract this damage to nature.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "We urgently need concrete measures to tackle marine litter. Marine pollution, especially plastic waste, clearly shows us that our behaviour in an interconnected world of global supply and consumption chains is having negative impacts worldwide. With its grant programme, Germany is living up to its global responsibility as a technological and process leader in the environmental sector and as an industrialised country hosting international companies in the plastic sector. By doing this we are implementing several of our pledges regarding the G7 and G20 action plans on marine litter."
The projects to be funded should help prevent waste generation on land directly at the source where possible. Plastic waste should be prevented from entering rivers and oceans in the first place. Priority will therefore be given to cooperation projects that reduce plastic waste in the medium term using proven solutions, or that establish waste and circular economy management systems. Key aspects for the funding are that the chosen approaches can be multiplied, incorporated into existing systems and are capable of continuing beyond the project duration. The grant programme will support projects on policy consultation, capacity building, technological cooperation, investments and implementation of the relevant institutional framework. In addition to riparian countries of polluted rivers, the focus will be on coastal regions and island states.
The first stage of the selection procedure will be assessment of the submitted project outlines. The selected projects will then undergo a detailed application process. The project outlines can be submitted to Zukunft – Umwelt – Gesellschaft" (ZUG), by 15 June 2020 at the latest.
The programme is aimed at federal implementing agencies, non-governmental organisations, business enterprises, universities, research institutes and German branches of international and multilateral organisations and institutions that are registered in Germany.