Wednesday 14 April 2021
Knokke-Heist: how catastrophic coastal management was avoided
Wednesday 31 March 2021
Art Campus crosses borders despite the pandemic
Monday 29 March 2021
'Water is coming': take part in the EU event on coastal risks
Friday 26 March 2021
Ocean initiatives: from waste collection to European decision makers
Tuesday 23 March 2021
UNEA5: towards an international treaty on plastics?
Saturday 20 March 2021
Ocean Initiatives: what about you, what is your reason?
Marine Litter Watch: A Call For Data
One of the most powerful tools in the fight against marine litter is data. When we quantify the problem and provide figures as solid evidence to our policy makers, we are able to demonstrate the full scale of the problem and drive real change for the Ocean. The value of data collection is at the heart of this current Marine Litter Watch Month. To support the European Environmental Agency’s Marine Litter Watch platform, this month-long event is celebrated from September 17th to October 16th, 2020.
Tracking waste thanks to an online platform
New this year, the Marine Litter Watch mobile application has developed into an online platform that allows European citizens to record waste found during clean-ups. The user-friendly platform has an integrated list of commonly found items and signing up requires only a few steps before you can start collecting, sorting and reporting. With the data collected, European Environment Agency is able to construct an interactive map that provides a comprehensive view of marine litter pollution in Europe.
Why track marine litter?
Only half of what community programs like Ocean Initiatives do is clean and preserve our natural spaces. The other half, which can be argued as even more valuable, is the information gathering. Self-reported data helps organizations like Surfrider Europe better understand the condition of our coastlines and waterways. It tells us where to find pollution hotspots and what kind of waste is the biggest threat to the environment. With this knowledge, we are able to direct our efforts to the root of the problem and heighten public awareness.
Thus, the more people involved, the larger our pool of data becomes, and the greater our chances are of making an impact on policy makers to drive sustainable change that betters Ocean health. This is what we call participatory science! By collecting and quantifying waste on beaches or inland, citizens are major actors in this wave of mobilization against marine litter pollution. Public participation is vital to building a comprehensive picture of the problem and enriching this database.
Participatory science allows small actions to lead to big changes. The Single-Use Plastics Directive, adopted in 2019, is proof of this. The European Commission used citizen data published in the Ocean Initiatives Environmenntal Report in their argument to adopt this unprecedented legislation.
A major problem
Two new items have been added to the database and can now be identified: masks and disposable gloves. This will enable the organization's experts to study the impact of the health crisis on pollution due to marine litter.
On the occasion of Marine Litter Watch Month, and throughout the year, we can all take action against marine litter. This dedicated event is an opportunity to unite our efforts as one community working to stop the problem at its source.