Removal of Marine Litter from Europe's Four Regional Seas

PROJECT CONTEXT 
Marine litter is a problem both globally and in Europe’s four regional seas (Baltic, Black, Mediterranean and North East Atlantic). It originates from sea-based and land-based sources. Marine litter consists of items that have been deliberately discarded, unintentionally lost, or transported by winds and rivers into the sea and on beaches. Marine litter covers a range of materials including plastic, metal, wood, rubber, glass and derelict fishing gear. Although absolute quantities and relative proportions of these materials vary according to the regional sea concerned, there is clear evidence that plastics are by far the most abundant type of litter in terms of number of items. Marine litter (including derelict fishing gear) can be collected by fishermen in the course of their regular fishing activity - mainly litter from the sea floor - or through dedicated litter removal programmes. Other groups, such as recreational divers, can also remove litter from the sea, but this project focusses on the removal of marine litter by vessels. 
 OBJECTIVES 
The overall objective of MARELITT is to assist EU Member States in reaching the objective of achieving ‘good environmental status’ (GES) of all EU marine waters by 2020. This objective is laid out in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC) (MSFD). One of the qualitative descriptors for determining GES is that ‘properties and quantities of marine litter do not cause harm to the coastal and marine environment’. The specific objective of MARELITT is to assist EU Member States in reducing the impact of marine litter on the coastal and marine environment. 
OUTPUTS 
MARELITT will assess existing marine litter removal projects in Europe’s four regional seas from the organisational, economic and environmental angles. This assessment will allow the definition of good practices. Subsequently, organisations will be identified and invited to host a project and to continue developing the good practices after the project period. The capacity of the organisations will be strengthened through the project, via training and guidance. The results of the project will be disseminated through a web-based toolkit providing guidance to stakeholders that want to establish their own litter removal project. The project will engage the fishing community along with plastics producers, converters, recyclers, other industries, local authorities, port authorities, waste managers and NGOs. 

The project runs from January 2013 until December 2014.
 See more information in the project  web-site www.marelitt.eu  
 Contact person: Kristina Veidemane (kristina.veidemane at bef.lv)