EUCC Mediterranean Centre facilitated a CleanSea stakeholder workshop within the Conference A Wake of Plastics, 13-15 October, in Venice (Italy). The participatory session gathered 30 stakeholders, mainly from research, associations and public bodies and aimed at gathering insights on policy options and implementation aspects of measures to address specific marine litter items in the Mediterranean area.
Participants identified, discussed and prioritised measures to deal with specific categories of marine litter that are among the most commonly found in Mediterranean beaches, such as smoking-related items, drink containers, food packaging and fishing gear. In total, 23 measures were proposed, across the whole product-to-waste cycle but with stronger emphasis on earlier stages of production and use of items, while consisting on a variety of regulatory (e.g. bans) and market-based instruments (e.g. economic incentives) but also educational and voluntary initiatives.
When it came to prioritising, measures that lead to a reduction in the consumption of specific items (e.g. by substitution with more eco-friendly alternatives, reducing its availability in the market or discouraging its use) were considered the most effective to prevent marine litter and feasible to implement. These preferences reflect a strong support towards more preventive approaches and are well in line with the principle of the waste hierarchy, in which prevention through reduction and reuse of waste should take priority in relation to waste recycling.
Some of the most voted measures included the promotion to use refillable containers for e.g. food, detergents; and deposit-refund schemes for drink containers. Innovative measures were also put forward, namely the design and use of alternative materials (e.g. cotton) for mussel socks in aquaculture, which are quite common items of marine litter in the Mediterranean region.
The detailed report of the workshop is available at: http://www.cleansea-project.eu/drupal/sites/default/files/CleanSea%20Venice%20workshop.pdf