Marine Debris Pollution and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that require nations to combat marine debris include the following:
Article 1: For the purposes of this Convention: …(4) “pollution of the marine environment” means the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment, including estuaries, which results or is likely to result in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources and marine life, hazards to human health, hindrance to marine activities, including fishing and other legitimate uses of the sea, impairment of quality for use of sea water and reduction of amenities.
Article 192: States have the obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment.
Article 194: (1) States shall take … all measures necessary to prevent, reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment from any source…. (5) The measures taken in accordance with this part shall include those necessary to protect and preserve rare or fragile ecosystems as well as the habitats of depleted, threatened or endangered species and other forms of marine life.
Article 197: States shall cooperate on a global basis, and as appropriate, on a regional basis, directly or through competent international organizations, in formulating and elaborating international rules, standards and recommended practices and procedures … for the protection and preservation of the marine environment, taking into account characteristic regional features.
Article 207: (1) States shall adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from land-based sources, including