People who work in the field environment and sustainability are restless! For a high level summit or similar advocacy opportunities we are unstoppable and often travel across the globe to meet and sometimes confront others or exchange ideas and good practices. And when we close a project, we already have our eyes, minds and hearts set on the next one. Most of the times however, we are too busy to allow ourselves the luxury to pause and celebrate our successes. But on the occasion of the ACT4LITTER closing conference that was organized by MIO-ECSDE on the 24th of October, we take a moment not only to celebrate but also contemplate. We were inspired and moved to see all of you coming together to reflect on what worked really well, take a moment to acknowledge everyone’s outstanding job in drawing attention to the challenging issue of marine litter and more specifically in Marine Protected Areas. A big thank you to everyone who was part of ACT4LITTER and to those who contributed to the closing conference. Please take a few minutes to read below how ACT4LITTER and more projects like this one, are crucial in the battle against marine litter.

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Marine Affairs and Fisheries

“We have developed a radical new approach. In January we put in place the most ambitious, most integrated plastic strategy in the world. We want to transform the plastic sector with dramatic improvements in recycling and steep productions of plastic waste (…). But to win this battle we cannot rely on laws. We will win through the patient dedication of people on the ground. We will win by bringing people together. Researchers and innovators, public authorities and volunteers; collecting the evidence we need and building effective strategies. You ladies and gentlemen, are a perfect example of that. Your dedicated cooperation is an example for the whole Mediterranean. Our sea is home to millions. It’s the grace of our civilization and it is a global crossroad for development and trade. Your efforts are invaluable in protecting this strategy, so let me also extend my hard felt gratitude as well. Thank you to each partner in the ACT4LITTER project for safeguarding our seas for the future we want.”

Gaetano Leone, Coordinator, UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan-Barcelona Convention Secretariat

“The way forward must go through forging partnerships for action that amplify the impact of the work of individual actors in government, civil society, the scientific community, private sector, international organizations, so as to effectively promote reduction and prevention measures”.

Professor and MIO-ECSDE Chairman Michael Scoullos said:

“I am proud and grateful of everyone who was part of the ACT4LITTER closing conference. It was an extremely important and productive conference as we had the opportunity to look into different practices and perspectives while also sharing our common anxieties and hopes. The issue of marine litter will stay with us for many years in the future and with this project we have touched only the tip of the iceberg. However, I remain optimistic and this is only for one reason. I trust people have understood, changed their mindset and will continue to push and spread the right message to industries with whom we have to work with and to everyone else around them. Because the change starts from people. People like you and me. MIO-ECSDE, as a federation of 128 organizations, represents the views and hopes of many millions of citizens and I assure you we will continue to advocate and we will continue to push and raise awareness about marine litter and the ways to tackle it in the future”