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Achieving zero polluted seas and ocean

To reach the policy vision of achieving clean European seas, a profound transition is needed on how we address and manage marine pollution – a blue green transition. Many national laws, European and international agreements, forbid dumping of harmful materials into the environment, although enforcing these regulations remains a challenge. Proposals should consider all of the following aspects in the move towards this transition: i) encouraging the enforcement of existing or new pollution management related legislation; ii) the incorporation of new circular economy principles (designing materials and processes to enhance the recyclability and reuse of products and wastes e.g. plastics); iii) encouraging responsible chemical-use through consumer and political actions; iv) the definition and uptake of effective sustainability policies e.g. procurement processes – to better capture and uptake green, blue, sustainable, and circular innovations, etc. In summary, this transition embraces all levels e.g. legal, social, economic, industrial[[ The need for new ways of working for Europe to strengthen its industry for the transitions, whether it be on skills or circularity (Industry Strategy)]], environmental and wide range of stakeholders e.g. decision makers, scientists[[ A new generation of sustainability scientists needs to be trained to focus on a holistic vision of the marine ecosystem. Centred on solving societal challenges. Improving management of marine ecosystem/resources.]], citizens, industry, overall all players behind man-made pollution as well as players that can contribute with solutions (e.g. innovators, procurement experts, service providers etc). Proposals should consider ways for improved cooperation within and across sectors, regions and countries (the ocean and seas do not have borders), improved sharing and integration of information, development of joint measures to achieve zero polluted ocean and seas.

Social innovation is encouraged when the solution is at the socio-technical interface and requires social change, new social practices, social ownership or market uptake. This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.