Tons of litter are being dumped in our oceans, seas and rivers every year. Resulting both from industry waste or human behaviour, they endanger wildlife as well as our health and our economy. Did you know that plastic, which represents around 80% of marine litter, never biodegrades but, instead, is breaking up into small pieces due to photodegradation? We have found such micro-plastic pieces in the stomachs of seabirds and fish, and this ends up in our plate as well!
European legislation to reduce marine litter is in place. But the Commission has also launched several initiatives to support actions to collect and recycle marine litter that are already polluting our seas.
Among these initiatives, MARELITT is a two-year pilot project from the Commission supporting actions of removal of marine litter from Europe’s four regional basins. Associations interested by marine litter removal projects can still get involved as the project is on-going until December 2014.
Moreover, the call for proposals on the preparatory action “Guardians of the Sea” for 2013 has just been launched. This action aims at generally promoting the re-orientation of fishermen working on board vessels which have been re-assigned to other activities, in order to preserve jobs and promote Blue growth objectives. Therefore, an example of co-financing under this project could be the development of technical solutions and setting-up of collection of marine litter by re-oriented fishermen. We are all responsible for the health of our seas, but who else than fishermen themselves can be the best “Guardians of our seas”?