The Mediterranean Sea is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots but is also one of the most polluted seas worldwide. Marinelitter is a global threat for living marine organisms. Over 260 species have so far been reported to ingest or become entangledin debris such as plastic, monofilament line, rubber and aluminium foil. The problem particularly affects fishes, cetaceans andmarine turtles, animals in whose digestive tracts commonly appear accidentally-swallowed micro and macro plastic debris.
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive considers marine litter as one of the most concerning causes of pollution of the seaand states that the Good Environmental State is reached when “properties and quantities of marine litter do not cause harm tothe coastal and marine environment”. Similar consideration has been done by the Mediterranean Countries that adopted theBarcelona Convention in which ensuring that marine litter does not affect biodiversity and ecosystem services has beenincorporated as a main ecological objective.
Although many Mediterranean organizations are working on this issue, there is not any widely-accepted protocols to assesspollution by marine litter. For this reasons, MEDSEALITTER, an INTERREG-MED project, proposed to network representative MPAs, scientific organizations andenvironmental NGOs for developing, testing and delivering efficient, easy to apply and cost-effective protocols to monitor andmanage litter impact on biodiversity.
Geographical coverage: Mediterranean Sea
HCMR contact person: Dr. Helen Kaberi
Project website: https://medsealitter.interreg-med.eu/