The CleanSea Project team met at IVM-VU University Amsterdam on 28 and 29 January 2015, marking the end of the second project year. Preliminary results were presented and discussed among project partners, who left the meeting prepared for the work to be done in the final year of the project (project runs January 2013 to December 2015). The meeting gave attention to a special outcome of the project: a “Roadmap” to a future litter-free sea, a document (in preparation) that will integrate project results across natural and social science research and provide guidance to policy makers and others tackling marine litter across European seas.
Several staff of the EUCC Mediterranean Centre attended the meeting as communication leaders and Mediterranean regional partner conducting research on socioeconomics and governance.
Researchers discussed aspects such as the biological effects of microplastics at the level of organisms, populations and ecosystems. These particles are caused by fragmentation, a topic also being studied in an indoor ‘plastic soup’ test system within the project. A newly designed microlitter sampler has been tested and fine-tuned and promises to be a valuable tool for future research and monitoring of the water column. Hyperspectral imaging, Raman spectrometry and mass spectrometry techniques are three approaches to identify plastics in environmental samples that are being applied in the project. Field sampling is continuing to produce micro- and macrolitter data in the European marine environment, some of which is also being used as input for the modeling exercises within the project.
Economic costs of marine litter in the fisheries sector, ports and on recreational beaches are being studied, as well as beach users’ perceptions in the three regional seas (North, Black and Mediterranean). The progress towards analysis of best practices and short-and long-term policy options to reduce marine litter in Europe was presented. These analyses encompass not only regulatory and market-based instruments but also more bottom-up approaches (e.g. co-management, communicative) to identify points of intervention in different areas of the manufactured product system that could be used to reduce marine litter. The project will address innovations and policy integration as part of the mix that can help Europe reach Good Environmental Status (GES).
The Black Sea Commission was represented at this meeting by BSC Officer Ms. Irina Makarenko, who provided advice and input from the perspective of this important Regional Sea Commission.
CleanSea is entering a crucial stage of validating and integrating the wealth of knowledge and data coming out of the project, which can be transferred to a variety of stakeholders. As a final project dissemination event, the CleanSea Symposium and Documentary Film Presentation will be held on the 3rd of December 2015 at the EYE Film Institute, a spectacular venue in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This event is open to all interested stakeholders and the public. Save the date!