Proposal for global coordination of an Integrated Marine Debris Observing System (IMDOS) developed


Marine debris, including plastic waste, is a growing concern worldwide, affecting marine ecosystems, biodiversity, and human health. Despite the significance of the issue, there has not been a globally coordinated system to observe and measure marine debris comprehensively. The proposal for the creation of IMDOS intends to bring about a standardized, globally-coordinated system that can consistently monitor marine debris and inform policy, conservation, and cleanup efforts.

Impact During the Project

Unified Observing System: The IMDOS provides a consistent, standardized method for monitoring marine debris worldwide, replacing fragmented and localized efforts.

Stakeholder Alignment: By obtaining agreement from multiple partner organizations, there is an enhanced global consensus on the importance of addressing marine debris.

Recognition and Endorsement: IMDOS’s potential approval as a joint GOOS-UNEP project signifies its importance on both an environmental and policy-making level.

Broadening of Indicators: By expanding the number of global indicators on marine litter, the scope of monitoring extends beyond just quantity to other critical metrics like distribution, composition, and impact.

Impact Post Project

Setting up of IMDOS Standardized Data Collection: IMDOS will ensure that marine debris data collected worldwide follows a standard methodology, leading to more accurate global statistics and trends.

Guided Policy-making: With consistent and comprehensive data, policymakers can create more effective strategies and regulations to combat marine litter and its sources.

Enhanced Conservation Efforts: Understanding the spread and impact of marine debris will aid conservationists in their efforts to protect marine ecosystems and species.

International Collaboration: The setup of IMDOS governance will promote international cooperation, fostering a united front against the global issue of marine debris. Measure: Initial funding support obtained for coordination of IMDOS

Measure: IMDOS Terms of Reference approved

Advancement over and above State of the Art

Globally-coordinated Effort: Unlike existing disjointed and regional systems, IMDOS aims for a globally coordinated effort, thereby achieving a more holistic understanding of marine debris.

Focused on Marine Debris: There are existing observation systems for various oceanic metrics, but a system dedicated solely to marine debris is novel and aligns with emerging global environmental priorities.

Integration with Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs): Adding Marine Litter/Debris to EOVs not only underscores its importance but also ensures it gets consistent attention in ocean observations.

Establishing Governance: By seeking initial funding and setting Terms of Reference, IMDOS isn’t just a theoretical system but is on the path to becoming a functional, globally-recognized entity.

In summary, the proposal for IMDOS represents a significant leap forward in addressing the global issue of marine debris. By creating a globally coordinated, standardized system, it paves the way for more effective interventions, policy-making, and conservation efforts related to marine debris. This initiative also solidifies marine debris’ position as a priority within the broader oceanic observation domain.

Links and References

Link to D8.8 – Business plan for EuroSea demonstrators: Due at the end of the project