The continuous growth in the amount of solid waste thrown away, and the very slow rate of degradation of most items, are together leading to a gradual increase in marine litter found at sea, on the sea floor and coastal shores. In the Adriatic, MAP is cooperating with the Italian Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea Protection (IMELS) to provide concrete support to enhance marine litter management.
In the Adriatic, 1.5 kg of waste produced per habitant per day on average
Marine litter, including plastic and microplastics, represents one of the main pressures to marine and coastal environment. In the Mediterranean, it is estimated that there are 0.5 billion litter items lying on the seafloor, the majority of which are plastics, with devastating effects on marine biodiversity, but also on our health, and on vital human activities for the economy of this region, such as fisheries and tourism.
In the Adriatic, it is estimated that each habitant produces on average 1.5 kg of waste per day, yet the percentage of waste inadequately managed can go up to 45% depending on the country, according to the Marine Litter Assessment in the Mediterranean.
Italy’s commitment to support marine litter management in the Adriatic
In September 2016, IMELS and MAP signed a Cooperation Agreement addressing key priorities towards ensuring a fully integrated marine and coastal management in the Mediterranean. Marine litter management is one of the key components of this Cooperation Agreement.
For marine litter activities, a special attention is given to the Adriatic area, with the goal to provide concrete support through the design and implementation of pilot projects. In particular, the Cooperation Agreement support the implementation of “Adopt-a-beach” pilots and also on prevention and reduction of single-use plastics, e.g. plastic bags and bottles, in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. All the activities include public awareness initiatives with the involvement of stakeholders.
Progress presented at the Regional Meeting on Marine Litter Best Practices
During the Regional Meeting on Marine Litter Best Practices, organised by MED POL (the Marine Pollution Assessment and Control component of MAP) in Izmir, Turkey, on 9-10 October 2018, a dedicated session on the Adriatic was held with support from the Cooperation Agreement, bringing together representatives from all the Adriatic countries. Interesting discussions were held on ongoing and planned activities in the area, best practices and lessons learnt, as well as main elements of marine litter related Guidelines, which are under preparation with a focus on their implementation in the Adriatic context.
During this dedicated session all the Adriatic countries presented their progress in the implementation of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro presented the progress achieved in the implementation of key marine litter best practices supported by the Cooperation Agreement through legal instruments signed by each of them with MAP. In particular, preliminary results coming from the implementation of “Adopt-a-beach” pilots were presented to the session participants; high level of public and community participation was stressed by the countries demonstrating increased awareness raising. In addition, related activities for the enhancement of the regulatory framework for single-use plastic items (i.e. bags and PET bottles), were presented.
Beach clean-up activity in Cape of Rodon, Albania, in the framework of Adopt-A-Beach pilots
MAP components working together to provide a complementary expertise
Marine litter is a multidimensional problem requiring responses across the board. This is why, MAP Coordination Unit, REMPEC (the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea) and SCP/RAC (the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production) are working together to provide a complementary expertise.
In this respect, REMPEC is supporting the selection of major ports and marinas in all Adriatic countries for the implementation of pilots. The pilots aim at determining the application of charges at reasonable costs for the use of port reception facilities or, when applicable, application of No-Special-Fee system as well as pilots related to the provision of reception facilities and the delivery of ship-generated wastes in marinas.
SCP/RAC is supporting a portfolio of activities aiming to prevent plastic marine litter and microplastics generation from the Food and Beverage sector in the Adriatic countries, through sustainable production and consumption actions.