A group of 30 Egyptians gathered at a two-day hands-on training workshop organized by the ENI CBC MED Plastic Busters CAP project; a project labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean. The workshop, which took place at Marsa Matruh in Egypt on March 1-2, 2022, aimed at creating the conditions for a shift in society towards the wise use and sustainable disposal of plastics.

During the workshop, participants had the opportunity to fully exploit the knowledge, know-how, experience, and lessons learned on marine litter monitoring and mitigation from the now concluded Interreg Med Plastic Busters MPAs project. The ENI CBC MED Plastic Busters CAP project is working towards reducing marine litter and promoting a circular economy approach to plastic waste management.

During the first day’s morning session, participants were introduced to state-of-play monitoring approaches for beaches, the sea surface, the seafloor, and biota. In the afternoon, they put their knowledge into practice, carrying out field surveys on the beach to assess the types and composition of macrolitter and sample microlitter from beach sediments. The survey found 1133 litter items per 100 meters of beach, emphasizing the urgency of taking action and putting measures in place to prevent marine litter.

On the second day, in the morning participants boarded a vessel and carried out floating microplastics sampling and macrolitter monitoring surveys on the sea-surface, where 1080 macrolitter items per square kilometre were found floating. They then moved on to laboratory activities, applying harmonized approaches to process and analyze water, beach sediment, and biota samples for litter detection. In the final session, participants worked in groups to prioritize tailored-made mitigation actions, considering the effectiveness, feasibility, and social acceptance of the measures. The groups focused on tackling fisheries-related items and tourism and recreation-related items.

Photos: Thomais Vlachogianni

The workshop was well-received and well-appreciated by all participants. With the knowledge gained and the priority actions identified, participants are better equipped to tackle marine litter and pave the way for a litter-free Mediterranean.

Mr. Mostafa Rachid, Chairman of El Ramis Society for Local Community Development of Barrany, said: “On behalf of AlRames, we express our gratitude to the Plastic Busters CAP team for their significant contributions to the successful training! This training has opened up new channels for the development of a marine litter management strategy in our city of Matrouh. The various stakeholders, not only from Matrouh, who attended the training provided very positive feedback regarding the content and practical actions to ensure a healthy marine environment. We hope to sustain the project activities in the same manner and make a real impact in the Mediterranean.

Ms Soha Shabaka, Assistant Professor of the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Alexandria stated: “Over the course of two days, I had the pleasure to join one of the Plastic Busters CAP activities in Marsa Matrouh. As a senior researcher, I benefited from gaining a deep understanding and practical experience on the various methods of monitoring marine litter. The integration of different sectors of Egyptian society in the workshop enhanced our understanding of the many facets of the marine litter pollution issue, sparked collaboration among different stakeholders and paved the way for the identification and implementation of practical approaches for mitigating marine litter.

Another successful  Plastic Busters CAP marine litter research expedition and hands-on training was completed in Matruh ! We are thrilled to have received such heart-warming hospitality from the El Ramis Society for Local Community Development of Barrany and all the valuable inputs from the participants. Together, we are slowly but surely increasing the number of people committed to combat plastic pollution and with every training session, we get closer to reaching the critical mass of people needed to transform our throwaway societies.”, says Dr. Thomais Vlachogianni, Senior Programme/Policy Officer at MIO-ECSDE.

The event was organised by the El Ramis Society for Local Community Development of Barrany, MIO-ECSDE and the University of Siena.

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