In addition to UN Environment/MAP initiatives, many projects (Marlisco, Act4litter, Plastic buster MPA) aim at facilitating efforts to tackle marine litter in the Mediterranean Sea. They support effective and targeted measures towards reaching their conservation targets. International NGOs (Surfrider foundation, WWF, OceanConservancy, Tara expeditions, GreenPeace) have included the Mediterranean Sea in their agenda.
In the meantime, Mediterranean organisations like MIO-ECSDE, Medassset, legambiante and many local groups are bringing their longstanding experience in advocacy, awareness raising and networking on marine litter issues. All are working through a combination of approaches including public exhibitions, information campaigns, and a legacy of educational and decision-supporting tools.
The objectives are to increase the awareness of the consequences of societal behaviour in relation to waste production and management on marine socio-ecological systems, to promote co-responsibility among the different actors, to define a more sustainable collective vision, and to facilitate grounds for concerted actions. These activities are effective in improving individuals’ perceptions about the problem but also commitment in being part of the solution.
The reduction of marine pollution, including Marine Litter in the Mediterranean Region is the main action of the SWIM-H2020 SM Project, with emphasis on the countries of North Africa and the Middle East. It provides tailored and targeted support to authorities and other stakeholders through capacity building, dissemination activities, education and awareness and eventually facilitate sustainable Investments. Participative science, education, information campaigns and cleaning operations are part of these marine litter initiatives. Also, highly considered through the various UN MAP projects are some of the scopes to raise awareness and the aim to promote co-responsibility of all actors. Stakeholders and contracting parties will take advantage of these projects, improving mitigation actions and developing management plans.
As new technology that can improve monitoring and control are already in use in many Mediterranean countries, smartphone applications may be a solution, involving the public to collect data and provide support to management. The Marine Litter Watch (WLW) smartphone application, developed by the EEA in collaboration with some other institutions, some from the Mediterranean region, allows people to carry out beach surveys using a UN compatible master list of marine litter items and data transferred to a public central database hosted by the EEA.
As part of the #CleanSeas campaign, UN Environment’s Global Partnership on Marine Litter offers Massive Open Online Courses on marine plastic pollution (information at firstname.lastname@example.org) with some focus on tourism in the Mediterranean Sea.
The MOOCs provide free access to the public around the world, through different opportunities for interactive learning, offering overviews of the issue (two weeks tracks) or more in-depth information (eight weeks tracks). The 2-week tracks will be available in all UN languages and Portuguese in 2018 and case studies are also considered and welcome.