It’s Marine LitterWatch Month for the 7th consecutive year and its success story builds on the joint efforts of the Marine LitterWatch communities. MIO-ECSDE is a part of this ‘taskforce’ towards providing reliable, accurate and comparable marine litter data for all regional seas in Europe.

Marine LitterWatch (MLW) is a European Environment Agency (EEA) participatory science approach that 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 EEA MLW community members have collected more than 2 million beach litter items with 3288 beach surveys and registered them to MLW database in the last 7 years. More than 80 % of these items are plastics. The top 5 items are cigarette butts, plastic pieces, polystyrene pieces, plastic cups/lids and shopping bags. You may see the MLW data viewer for up-to-date results of our surveys.

One-month pilot beach surveys deploy a harmonized 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 feed directly into the European Environment Agency database underlining the need for urgent action and strengthened policy implementation at local, national, European and Regional Seas Conventions levels in meeting targets and commitments set in tackling marine litter.

Marine LitterWatch community members also include the Aarhus University, Roskilde University, Black Sea NGO Network, Keep Sweden Tidy, Swiss Litter, HELMEPA, Legambiente, Marine Conservation Society, Mare Nostrum, MARNOBA, Plastic Change, Portuguese Association of Marine Litter, EMBLAS+ and Surfrider Foundation Europe.

Marine LitterWatch is always open to new communities, from NGOs, business and industry, coastal communities (e.g. local sports club, scouts), schools and universities, expert communities (i.e. science and research) to public authorities and others. If you, too, are concerned with the litter building up in our coasts and seas, take action and get involved in the Marine LitterWatch Month till 16 October 2020!

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

For more information on how to get involved, please contact or the Marine LitterWatch focal point of your local community.

The Marine LitterWatch App can now be accessed through a web based application here and is always available in Play Store (for Android) and App Store (for iOS).

Read in French here