Monitoring Marine Litter

Story Line#1 – Marine Litter Watch Month: Standardised methodologies to monitor marine litter in MPA beaches through participatory science

Project name


Joint measures to preserve natural ecosystems from marine litter in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPA)


Standardised methodologies to monitor marine litter in MPA beaches through participatory science

To date no coherent, consistent and targeted measures were being taken in Mediterranean MPAs in order to tackle marine litter.

ACT4LITTER, though the 4 editions of the “Marine Litter Watch Month” has enabled MPA managers to collect valuable baseline information on coastal marine litter and provided tools to identify most effective measures to manage the problem. In doing so, it has empower MPAs to play an active role in raising awareness on the issue and in promoting concrete actions in collaboration with national and local institutions, communities, educators and schools, NGOs and other volunteers. It has demonstrated the value of participatory science an effective tool to gather essential marine litter data with a standardised methodology.

The ACT4LITTER Marine Litter Watch Month has altogether connected some 20 MPA management bodies, NGOs and other organizations, which joined forces in order to shed light on the marine litter threat in Mediterranean coastal and marine protected areas.

The initiative will carry on within the framework of a follow-up project, namely the Plastic Busters MPAs, also funded by the Interreg Med.

Keywords Marine litter, MPAs, beach management, , coast, remediation, monitoring, participatory science, standard methodologies, awareness raising


  • Catalan Waste Agency – SCP/RAC Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (leader);
  • Mediterranean Protected Areas Network – MedPAN;
  • Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE); SSSUP Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies

22 Associated partners:

  1. MerTerre / Observatoire des Déchets en Milieux Aquatiques (France)
  2. Mediterranean Center for Environmental Monitoring (Montenegro)
  3. Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona (Spain)
  4. Shoreline (Italy)
  5. Management Body of Samaria National Park (Greece)
  6. Spanish Association of Marine Litter (Spain)
  7. Consortium of Management of Portofino MPA (Italy)
  8. City of San Benedetto del Tronto (Italy)
  9. Public Institution Nature Park Lastovo Islands (Croatia)
  10. Public Institute Landscape Park Strunjan (Slovenia)
  11. Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation (Croatia)
  12. Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (Tunisia)
  13. Association for Protection of Aquatic Wildlife of Albania (Albania)
  14. Nice Cote D’Azur Metropole (France)
  15. Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment (Cyprus)
  16. Thermaikos Gulf Protected Areas Management Authority, (Greece)
  17. PlasticsEurope (Belgium)
  18. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Spain)
  19. Public Institution National Park Kornati (Croatia)
  20. French Agency for Marine Protected Areas (France)
  21. City of Marseille (France)
  22. Regional Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning of Andalusia (Spain)
Protected areas
  • The Marine litter watch month has been carried out at:
  • Karaburun-Sazani Island, Albania
  • Kornati National Park, Croatia
  • Espiguette Natura 2000, France
  • Marine Natural Park of the Gulf of Lion, France
  • Thermaikos Gulf Protected Areas Management Authority, Greece
  • Mountain Parnon and Moustos wetland Natura 2000, Greece
  • Schinias Marathon National Park, Greece
  • Pelagie Islands MPA, Italy
  • Shoreline – Miramare MPA, Italy
  • Punta Campanella MPA, Italy
  • Secche di Tor Paterno MPA, Italy
  • Torre del Cerrano MPA, Italy
  • Strunjan Landscape Park, Slovenia
  • Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park/UNESCO Global Geopark – Andalucia, Spain
  • Ebro Delta Nature Park, Spain
  • Llevant de Mallorca-Cala Ratjada MPA – Balearic Islands, Spain
  • Gökova Special Environmental Protection Area, Turkey
Key messages for protected area management

MPA Manager quote:

“During our first ACT4LITTER beach litter monitoring survey we really felt like going into the wild. We had done nothing similar before and we were not certain of the quality of the end result. Nevertheless, we followed closely the methodology provided by the project and we realized how feasible it is to put it into practice” says Gloria Garcia, technical advisor at the Cabo de Gata-Níjar natural park/ UNESCO global geopark, Spain.

  • “Marine litter Watch Month (MLWM)” serves to build skills of the MPA managers on how to Monitor ML on beaches and to find more detailed and accurate information on the quantities, type and sources of ML through  a standardized methodology
  • MLWM  serves as a useful blueprint for the setup of participatory-science campaigns
  • There is opportunity to benefit from these efforts and join upcoming MLWM organised through the PLASTICBUSTERSMPA Interreg MED Project
Key messages for policy
  • The way forward must go through forging partnerships for action that amplify the impact of the work of individual actors in government, civil society, scientific community, private sector, international organizations, so as to effectively promote reduction and prevention measures
Key messages for science
  • Marine litter Watch Month” is It is an effective tool to gather essential marine litter data; It provides valuable baseline information on the amounts and the full spectrum of marine litter deposited on the beaches of protected areas in the Mediterranean and
  • MLWM It serves as a useful blueprint for the setup of participatory-science campaigns – understood as  a method of undertaking scientific research where community groups and science professionals work together in a meaningful way on locally-relevant scientific research projects.
Key deliverables