In March 2021, the EU Science Hub of the Joint Research Centre released a new manual aiming to support people entrusted with monitoring marine litter to record the data they collect in a harmonised way. This will lead to the acquisition of more reliable and comparable data, enabling experts to better understand where to focus their efforts in keeping Europe’s beaches and seas clean.

The manual is a practical guide for applying the ‘Joint List of Litter Categories’ which is a ‘standard’ list of litter types commonly found in the coastal and marine environment that has been agreed upon by EU Member States. The list explicitly considers the items regulated under the EU Single-Use Plastics (SUPs) Directive. Its consistent use by EU Member States will enable an evaluation of how effective this Directive is in reducing SUPs related litter items and will facilitate the evaluation of the Programmes of Measures of the EU Member States under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The joint list ‘standardises’ the attribution of macrolitter items (i.e. bigger litter items), from plastic bottles to cigarette butts to a number of clearly defined litter types. The manual accompanying the joint list explains the system the list uses and its structure. It provides instructions on which codes to use and proposals for the assessment of the size of litter items. A photo guide has also been developed to accompany the manual and can be found here.

The manual was developed by the MSFD Technical Group on Marine Litter, which is co-chaired by the JRC and IFREMER. MIO-ECSDE, an active member of the MFSD Technical Group on Marine Litter, is proud to have been instrumental in the elaboration of the manual and has committed itself to promote its wide dissemination in the Mediterranean.

Read here in French