Medsealitter is a project financed by the European Union under the program Interreg Med aiming at gathering together representative MPAs, scientific organizations and environmental NGOs for developing, testing and delivering efficient, easy to apply and cost-effective protocols to monitor and manage litter impact on biodiversity. Started in November 2016 and lead by the Cinque Terre National Park and Marine Protected Area, the project gather 10 partner from Greece, Spain, France and Italy that will work together for a coordinated and shared monitoring of marine waste in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Mediterranean sea is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots but is also one of the most polluted seas worldwide. Marine litter is a global threat for living marine organisms. Over 260 species have so far been reported to ingest or become entangled in debris such as plastic, monofilament line, rubber and aluminum foil The problem particularly affects fishes, cetaceans and marine 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 sea and states that the Good Environmental State is reached when “properties and quantities of marine litter do not cause harm to the coastal and marine environment. Similar consideration has been done by the Mediterranean Countries that adopted the Barcelona Convention in which ensuring that marine litter does not affect biodiversity and ecosystem services has been incorporated as a main ecological objective. Although many Mediterranean organisations are working on this issue, there is not any widely-accepted protocols to assess pollution by marine litter. Thanks to this project, we would like to develop Mediterranean-specific protocols to protect biodiversity from litter impact at basin and local MPAs scales.
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Map of the lake and marine pollution in Italy