Protecting the coast and the ocean from chemical pollution


An enormous number of chemicals is flowing in our society, and each day new ones are introduced without sufficient control of where they will be used and finally end up. The protection of the oceans from chemical pollution in international law is rudimental and limited to a few hazardous substances. Although legislation regulating the use of chemicals has increased and is addressing different stages of the value chain, it still lags far behind the rapid development of new chemicals. Moreover, the environmental risks of chemicals are assessed and managed individually instead of in combination with other chemicals. Based on a study of the chemical flows in an area in west Sweden and their current legal control, the need for legal reforms in order to develop a more sustainable management of chemicals is discussed.

About Lena Gipperth:

Lena Gipperth is a Professor in Environmental Law at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg. Her research focuses on the legal implementation of environmental objectives, in particular relating to water and marine resources. She has been involved in several trans- and multidisciplinary research programmes and is now a part of the FRAM Centre for Future Chemical Risk Assessment and Management Strategies ( Since 2015 she is the Director of the cross-faculty Centre for Sea and Society, an entrance to all marine and maritime activities at the University of Gothenburg.


Panel discussion:

Dr. Berit Brockmeyer

Dr. Berit Brockmeyer is head of the section “Organic Pollutants” in the Department “Marine Sciences” (sub department “Chemistry of the Ocean”) at the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH). Her tasks include monitoring pollutants in water and sediments from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea as well as research into the detection of pollutants.


Dr. Tim Jennerjahn