Each year an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans. That’s the ′equivalent to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world′.

Are you concerned with the litter building up in our coasts and seas? Then take action against marine litter and get involved in the Marine Litter Watch Month to be held from 17 September to 16 October 2019!

The Marine Litter Watch is a European Environment Agency initiative that aims to combat the marine litter problem. Through a participatory science approach this initiative empowers individuals and communities to take up action and fill in the data gaps that hamper the implementation of essential measures towards litter-free coasts and seas.

The Marine Litter Watch Month will offer a unique opportunity to individuals and communities to join forces and become a taskforce towards providing reliable, accurate and comparable marine litter data.

One-month pilot beach surveys will deploy a harmonised monitoring approach, following the “Guidance Document on Monitoring of Marine Litter in European Seas” developed in 2013 by the Technical Group on Marine Litter of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, a European Union legislation that aims to protect Europe´s seas and ensure its sustainable use. The data collected will feed directly into the European Environment Agency database underlining the need for urgent action and will strengthen policy implementation at local, national, European and Regional Seas Conventions levels in meeting targets and commitments set in tackling marine litter.

The Marine Litter Watch Month is an initiative carried out in close collaboration with the Marine Litter Watch community members as the Aarhus University, Roskilde University, Black Sea NGO Network, Keep Sweden Tidy, Swiss Litter, HELMEPA, Legambiente, Marine Conservation Society, Mare Nostrum, MARNOBA, MIO-ECSDE, Plastic Change, Portuguese Association of Marine Litter, EMBLAS+ and Surfrider Foundation Europe.

In the last 6 years, more than 1 million beach litter items haven through 2340 beach surveys and registered them to MLW database. 80 % of these items were plastics. Top 5 items are cigarette butts, plastic pieces, plastic cups/lids drinks, polystyrene pieces and glass or ceramic fragments. You may see the MLW data viewer for up to date results of our surveys.

If you are already a MLW user, we encourage you to go to same beaches this year -at least two times – to help us to see if the amount of beach litter has changed.

For more information on how to get involved, please contact marinelitterwatch@eea.europa.eu or the Marine Litter Watch focal point of your local community.

Read in French here