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Towards a Clean, Litter-Free European Marine Environment through Scientific Evidence, Innovative Tools and Good Governance

Final Report Summary - CLEANSEA (Towards a Clean, Litter-Free European Marine Environment through Scientific Evidence, Innovative Tools and Good Governance)

Executive Summary:
Europe’s marine natural resources encompass a vast natural capital that supports economies, societies and individual well-being. Marine litter is widely recognized as a threat to marine ecosystems and a major societal challenge to manage. Under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) (Directive 2008/56/EC), marine litter is one of the eleven descriptors for determining Good Environmental Status, GES (Decision 2010/477/EU). The EU aims to achieve GES through the adoption of an ecosystem-based and integrated approach to managing all human activities which impact the marine environment. There is an urgent need for an improved knowledge base for the management of marine litter and the CleanSea project was created to address this need.

CleanSea’s aim was to generate new information on the impacts (biological, social and economic) of marine litter, develop novel tools needed to collect and monitor litter and protocols needed for monitoring data (litter composition and quantities) and evaluate the impact of mitigation strategies and measures in order to provide policy options to policy makers in the EU.

The objectives were achieved through seven workpackages. WPs 2 and 3 covered biological impacts and technical aspects of marine monitoring, monitoring tools and applications. WP4 investigated multilevel socio-economic impact and barriers to good environmental status (GES), providing a justification for the development of management measures and policy options in WP5. This WP combined advanced institutional analysis with a participatory approach in order to identify and assess management measures, strategies and policy options in collaboration with stakeholders that reduce marine litter and alleviate diverse ecological and socio-economic impacts as identified in WPs 2 and 4. WP6 provided for integration and synthesis of the project results, culminating in a GES Road map. The CleanSea Stakeholder Platform in WP6 provided the foundation for interactions between all WPs and relevant stakeholders in the Black Sea, Mediterranean, Baltic and North East Atlantic regions, as well as at EU level. Close collaboration for input from and exchange of information with the MSFD Marine Litter Technical Subgroup (TSG) was important to the CleanSea Consortium and was facilitated by CleanSea partners who are also active members of the TSG. A very elaborate dissemination WP (7) produced an informative and constantly updated website, social media sites, a professional documentary film, a multilanguage brochure, newsletters, and well-attended and livestreamed public symposium accompanied by a series of youtube videos. The overall project management and coordination was dealt with under WP1.

CleanSea comprised top scientific groups from eleven European countries distributed over the four marine regions. It also included six SMEs, four of them focused on technological innovation of monitoring and litter collection, mitigation and recycling tools. CleanSea has tackled the marine litter problem from a broad interdisciplinary perspective and built up an array of tools, methods, knowledge about impacts, management measures and policy options. By searching for new paradigms and integrating knowledge and methods not previously integrated, CleanSea has contributed concrete elements of the efforts towards significant marine litter reductions in Europe.

Project Context and Objectives:
Europe’s marine natural resources encompass a vast natural capital that supports economies, societies and individual well-being. Marine litter is widely recognized as a threat to marine ecosystems and a major societal challenge to manage. Under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) (Directive 2008/56/EC), marine litter is one of the eleven descriptors for determining Good Environmental Status, GES (Decision 2010/477/EU). The EU aims to achieve GES through the adoption of an ecosystem-based and integrated approach to managing all human activities which impact the marine environment. There is an urgent need for an improved knowledge base for the management of marine litter.

CleanSea’s aim was to generate new information on the impacts (biological, social and economic) of marine litter, develop novel tools needed to collect and monitor litter and protocols needed for monitoring data (litter composition and quantities) and evaluate the impact of mitigation strategies and measures in order to provide policy options to policy makers in the EU and the Regional Seas Conventions that collaborate closely in achieving the goal of marine litter reduction.

The objectives were achieved through seven workpackages. WPs 2 and 3 covered biological impacts and technical aspects of marine monitoring, monitoring tools and applications. WP4 investigated multilevel socio-economic impact and barriers to good environmental status (GES), providing a justification for the development of management measures and policy options in WP5. This WP combined advanced institutional analysis with a participatory approach in order to identify and assess management measures, strategies and policy options in collaboration with stakeholders that reduce marine litter and alleviate diverse ecological and socio-economic impacts as identified in WPs 2 and 4. WP6 provided for integration and synthesis of the project results, culminating in a GES Road map. The CleanSea Stakeholder Platform in WP6 provided the foundation for interactions between all WPs and relevant stakeholders in the Black Sea, Mediterranean, Baltic and North East Atlantic regions, as well as at EU level.

Close collaboration for input from and exchange of information with the MSFD Marine Litter Technical Subgroup (TSG) was important to the CleanSea Consortium and was facilitated by CleanSea partners who are also active members of the TSG. Other strong links were made with the Regional Seas Convention offices, UNEP Marine Litter Partnership, the UN GESAMP working group working on marine microplastics, Member States MSFD implementation teams and the Joint Programme Initiative Oceans.

The overall project management and coordination was dealt with under WP1. A professional dissemination package, including a documentary film, informative website, social media, publications, large public symposium, etc. were organised in WP7.

CleanSea comprised top scientific groups from eleven European countries distributed over the four marine regions. It also included six SMEs, four of them focused on technological innovation of monitoring and litter collection, mitigation and recycling tools. CleanSea has tackled the marine litter problem from a broad interdisciplinary perspective and built up an array of tools, methods, knowledge about impacts, management measures and policy options. By searching for new paradigms and integrating knowledge and methods not previously integrated, CleanSea has contributed concrete elements of the efforts towards significant marine litter reductions in Europe.

Project Results:

TASK 2.1: Provide marine litter impact metrics that can direct future marine litter reduction efforts

In the first task of WP2 we sought to establish which quantities and types of litter are present in Europe’s seas. Macrolitter and microlitter received attention. Two deliverables were produced, one regarding protocols which are needed and one regarding monitoring data. Deliverable 2.1 (Protocol development for comparable sampling and analysis of marine litter in Europe) aimed to provide tools to measure and assess the impact of marine litter on the environment in European seas. When a new type of contaminant emerges for which warning signals of adverse effects on the marine ecosystem or individual organisms have been perceived, a need arises for comprehensive data collection on the distribution and effects of the new contaminant, in this case marine litter. Methods demonstrated in the project could be used as a basis for future monitoring programs for marine litter in the EU.

An approach to selecting methods for a specific research question begins with evaluation and classification of existing methods, followed by method development to satisfy requirements for the scope and fitness for the intended purpose of the method. The details of the research question that the data to be collected should address must be explicitly formulated in advance, if a method that is fit-for-purpose is to be developed. In CleanSea the needs of MSFD monitoring were the guide to gearing towards fit-for-purpose methods. A selection of protocols and methods that were used within CleanSea for the sampling, identification and analysis of marine litter was made from after a review of existing methods. Within the survey we applied and further develop methods for macrolitter including: i) Sea surface macrolitter: hyperspectral imaging; ii) Benthic macrolitter: Fishing for Litter; iii) Biota: birds (Northern fulmars) and fish; iv) Riverine litter; and for microlitter: i) Microlitter: i) Routine monitoring: sediment and biota ii) Investigative monitoring: water column, zooplankton, mussel and crab.

Important cross cutting principles were identified, such as the ‘collect once, report many’ principle to make optimal use of sampling resources. The role of databases were highlighted as a means of bringing together comparable data to make it available to data users. Databases serve to encourage standardization of reporting units and reporting of metadata that is critical to data interpretation and comparability. Other key issues in protocols such as background contamination were also discussed and applied in the analysis of field and experimental samples. Secondly, measured litter data was reported from marine regions across Europe, both for macrolitter and microlitter. In CleanSea microplastics and macrolitter were measured in sediments, biota, in water, on the beach and on the seabed. The work in WP3 on fragmentation and fate modeling showed that much of marine litter including light microplastics do have a tendency to be deposited in coastal areas. Much litter is transported to the seabed, making the benthic environment a sink for marine litter. This makes the benthic environment well suited to monitoring.

The seabed of the North Sea and the Black Sea were surveyed with the help of Dutch fishermen trawling the sea bottom for fish and national fishing surveys performed in Romania. Large amounts of nets, metal and plastic were found, fewer items of textiles and wood. In the North Sea the seabed litter was predominantly plastic, both in terms of mass and number of items. Metal was another common material. Nets, buoys, ropes, shoes, gloves, packaging and even whole household garbage bags (apparently discarded overboard after cleaning the vessel) were commonly found. Notable items also included fireworks, an irreparable printer and rolls of carpeting.
Microplastics were measured in sediments, biota and surface water. Marine sediments were analysed for microplastics where on average over 400 particles were found per kilogram sediment (dry weight), while in some samples, the concentrations exceeded 1000 particles per kilogram sediment (dry weight). Roughly a third of the particles found were fibers. Approximately 45% of the particles were smaller than 333 µm, and this makes up the fraction that would not be collected and detected in a normal manta or plankton trawl net which has this sieve size.

These data support the choice of sediment as matrix in which to monitor microplastics. Riverine sediments were also enriched with microplastic litter, as were surface water samples from urban areas. Besides in sediments and the seabed, microplastics concentrate in biota, and filter feeders are particularly proficient at filtering such particles out of the water column. In Mediterranean mussels collected in the Northern Ionian Sea, microplastics were found in 35 out of 40 samples examined. Particle lengths ranged from 17 to 1612 μm. In nine out of ten species studied in the North Sea region microplastics were found. 85% of the biota samples measured contained microplastics. Raman and FTIR were used as techniques to determine polymer type of particles. These are powerful tools but have some limitations (such as particle size constraints and some interference from chemical additives in plastics e.g. black carbon). These constraints of the current state of the art should be openly discussed.

TASK 2.2: Establish the biological impact of microparticles, especially microplastics in marine organisms

The aim of this task was to provide fundamental scientific knowledge on the scale and nature of the physical and chemical impacts of marine litter, and in particular microplastics, on marine organisms and the predicted consequences for populations and communities. We would determine the impact of this type of marine litter on population-relevant fitness parameters and energy budgets in key species. To do this we took a multi species approach, studying the effects of microplastic ingestion on primary producers, filter feeders, predators and scavengers. The final part of this task was to investigate the ecosystem level effects of microplastics in the marine environment. This task and an extended version of the results are reported in 2 deliverables: D2.2 Testing indicators for Biological impacts and D2.4 Physical and chemical impacts of marine litter. A summary of the key findings follows below.

Biological indicators are important for the MSFD implementation for Descriptor 10 Marine Litter in that they can provide a baseline to measure progress towards targets and measure field exposure to litter which is important for determining risk. To be effective, these indicators should be regional in character, and ideally they should be comparable across the EU regions. In CleanSea, indicator species under consideration include marine algae, zooplankton, bivalves, crustaceans and fish.
The hazard posed by plastics in the ocean remains to be established, but is predicted to encompass entanglement, ingestion, physical damage, chemical uptake and release. Chemicals so far identified as being associated with plastics debris include solvents, plasticisers, UV screening compounds and antimicrobials, persistent and priority organic pollutants and metals.

Methods for identifying plastics in environmental samples include Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry (DART-MS), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) and Coherent Anti- Stokes Raman Spectroscopy (CARS). Collectively, these methods can provide information on the identity and quantity of plastics present.
Plastics can be ingested by organisms from across trophic levels, including algae, zooplankton, bivalves, fish, birds and marine mammals. Ingestion is widespread in some species, for example microplastic fibres were reported in the foreguts of 83 % of lobsters caught from the Clyde Sea Area, Scotland UK. Mussels from quaysides and groynes on the Belgian part of the North Sea had 5.1 fibres per 10g and 2.6-3.5 fibres per 10g respectively.

Plastics are taken up into organisms in two main ways either through filtration or through trophic transfer. Filtration occurs not just in filter feeders such as the mussel Mytilus edulis but also animals which draw water into body cavities for respiration (i.e. the shore crab Carcinus maenas). Trophic transfer of 10μm polystyrene microspheres occurs between mussels and crabs. These microspheres are still found in Gills and Foregut of the crab after 22 days.

Bacteria also live within the 'Plastic Age’. Study of the composition of bacterial communities on marine plastic litter showed differences from those of the surrounding seawater. Plastic marine debris is therefore suggested as a distinct microbial habitat called “The Plastisphere”.

Biological effects that have been studied following ingestion of microplastics include inflammation, oxidative stress, tissue damage, survival, growth and reproduction. Currently, biological effects on feeding, growth and pathways of energy assimilation may be a potential mechanism by which ingestion of microplastics could affect natural populations.

A systematic approach is being trialled to understand the biological effects of microplastics ingestion in aquatic species. Measurement of biological and physical effects focuses on population-relevant endpoints; growth, survival and reproduction. For primary producers (algae) this includes pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) fluorometry. Histology, confocal and electron microscopy bio-imaging can identify uptake of microplastics into the body, into and across gut and gills and to determine the extent, if any, of translocation to other tissues.

Biological effects were shown to occur in: Algae dosed with nano sized polystyrene, affecting primary production; Crab fed with mussels contaminated with plastic rope fibres reduces their feeding rate.

Tissue residue analysis of organic pollutants connected to plastic materials (flame retardants, fluorinated surfactants, bisphenol A, chlorinated paraffins) can be determined by mass spectrometry (inductively coupled plasmon-, time of flight- (ICP, TOF)) to quantify tissue distribution of plastics and their additives.

Transfer of chemicals leaching out of plastic and chemicals sorbed onto plastic is discussed in two decapod crustaceans.
Research on coastal reference sites on the Belgian Part of the North Sea during 2012- 2013 found that 90 % of the benthic litter consisted of plastic. Microplastics reaching the oceans have been identified from all main polymer groups, with an abundance of polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene and polyvinylchloride.

Environmental concentrations of plastic are described in Sprat and the Northern Fulmar.

We used a modelling approach (the Delft3D-GEM ecosystem model for the North Sea) to estimate the impact of microplastics on ecosystem level productivity. The model output predicted that effects of microplastics (at current environmentally relevant levels) on algal biomass are negligible. However, the model predicted that direct effects of microplastics on zooplankton would considerably reduce zooplankton biomass and productivity.


In order to monitor litter distribution, types and the effects in the environment, as studied in WP2, tools were needed. WP3 was dedicated to the development and application of tools, studying the fate and transport of marine litter as well as riverine litter.

TASK 3.1: Innovation and application of marine microparticle litter sampling techniques.

This task was dedicated to microlitter monitoring apparatus development (D3.5). The CleanSea Sampler was developed and tested in the field. After an initial prototype was built for use on marine ships, a second prototype was built that was lighter, for safer use on sailing vessels without access to deployment equipment on larger research ships. This new tool has several major advantages over currently used mantatrawls for surface water sampling of microplastics: It has the possibility to go to 6000 m depth (i.e. not just surface sampling), plus can be adjusted to sample down to 50 micron particle sizes (i.e. not just particles larger than 333 micron), plus it has a pump system built in that allows for precise measurement of water volume sampled (unlike the manta trawl where volume sample is a considerable source of error, esp on seas that have waves), and lastly the pump system allows for relatively fast sampling at a given station that can be carried out as other sampling activities and measurements are taking place on research and monitoring cruises (as opposed to manta trawls which require very slow towing speeds for long periods of time on the cruises). These aspects make the CleanSea sampler a cost-effective tool that can help provide high quality microplastics data throughout the water column, without missing the size fractions between 50 and 333 micron.

TASK 3.2: Innovation and application of marin macrolitter sampling/remediation technique

This workpackage included attention to macrolitter as well, with the fishing for litter application which collected seabed litter data from the North Sea in collaboration with fishermen and a waste management company, as well as with other WP3 litter transport modellers. The number and mass and category of the items collected in bigbags were harmonized to give modellers optimal information. Several thousand tonnes of litter, most of it plastic (in terms of items and weight) were collected in this task and reported in D 3.5 and D2.3. This tool has multiple functions: it is useful and cost-effective in seabed litter monitoring, and at the same time it powerfully increases awareness among fishing crews of the marine litter problem and spurs non-littering behaviour. Participating crews have communicated to CleanSea that since participating in the programme, they no longer throw litter back overboard, which was a typical habit when garbage was found in nets in the past. Thirdly this programme actually acts as a remediation tool in highly fished areas. Due to participation of hundreds of fishermen who have been ‘fishing for litter’ for several years now as part of a large fleet of participating vessels, the litter catch in intensively fished areas is decreasing. This is a rough indication that litter is being fished up at a faster rate than it is being thrown (back) overboard.

TASK 3.3: Multivariate hyperspectral imaging of litter

The filters in the sampler from task 3.1 were designed to fit under light-based scanning devices (used in Tasks 3.3 and 3.4 to detect plastics). Hyperspectral imaging techniques were tested in CleanSea and were found to be useful for monitoring purposes. They provide sufficient spectral resolution for monitoring marine samples. They can provide a more objective analysis of microplastics in environmental samples than traditional visual methods. Comparisons with visual identifications also showed that the technique can identify particles that were not visually identified as plastic, hence the method reduces the risk of underestimating difficult to identify microplastics. The increased objectivity achieved with the method improves spatial and temporal comparisons between results from different research-groups, which has previously been complicated due to the high discrepancy observed between visual identifications. It was also shown that certain aspects such as the spectral effects of polymer degradation have to be taken into account when calculating prediction models. Of the three hyperspectral instruments tested in CleanSea, the Videometer showed very high spatial resolution, but less clear discrimination between plastic types. Both other instruments, Malvern and Umbio Inspector, showed lesser spatial resolution but a better potential for plastic discrimination and identification was seen.

TASK 3.4: Novel marine identification tool development

In this task, a variety of marine litter (plastic component) detection and identification techniques were applied and tested. It is clear that there is no one size fits all when it comes to marine (micro)litter detection and that a suite of instruments is needed depending on the size of particles or fragments and whether or not chemical additive information is required. Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy is used to identify different plastic polymers. Here we used a handheld micro near infrared (NIR) spectrometer in combination with a multivariate model. Seven plastics polymers could be accurately identified in particles down to a size of 1 x 1 mm. This technique is very well suited for quick and easy identification of marine litter during beach surveys or sampling of ‘meso’ sized (> 1 mm) litter on vessels in rivers or the marine environment. Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy is a label-free imaging technique, providing contrast based on the intrinsic molecular vibrations of a specimen, circumventing the need for chemical perturbation by exogenous labels. Therefore plastic can be detected in biological tissue. Here we show foregut and gill tissue from the crab Carcinus maenas with 10 µm polystyrene beads adhered to the tissue structures. Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry (DART-MS) has allowed for minimizing the sample preparation steps by performing direct, rapid, and high throughput analyses on determining the type and composition of plastic polymers. Here we use these polymer identification techniques with mass spectrometry using DART to enable the identification of microplastics without the need for filtration and visual separation of fragments for analysis. For identification of chemicals sorbed to marine litter, mass spectrometry is useful, but infrared based techniques may also be useful depending on the strength of the signal for a particular additive or sorbed chemical. In some of the infrared techniques, very strong signals came from pigment additives in the plastics.

TASK 3.5: Framentation of macrolitter under different conditions in seawater and hydrodynamic modelling

In Task 3.5 we studied the fragmentation of marine plastic litter and modelled its subsequent transport in the marine system after entry via rivers.
A marine laboratory mesocosm was constructed to study, during about one year, the fragmentation of a variety of conventional durable and compostable plastic items in a mixture of consumer plastics. In the mesocosm the plastic materials were readily covered by microbial biofilms. These biofilms most likely reduced plastic degradation through UV-light and caused some of the polyethylene items to sink to the bottom of the mesocosm. We measured the electrical resistances (ER) of plastic items in the mesocosm and found that at low AC frequencies (100 Hz – 1000 Hz) they decreased as a function of time. This indicated the development of pits in the plastic polymers that are too small to be seen microscopically. Our results show that ER measurements can be a promising cheap, simple and non-destructive technique to monitor the initial steps of the degradation of plastic polymers in seawater. After one year we determined the changes of the weight of the items in the mesocosm. Polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS) and polypropylene (PP) objects, composed of polymers with a carbon-carbon backbone, had lost at the most 1% of their weight. Covering with microbial biofilms may have shielded these plastic objects from UV-light needed for their degradation. Latex balloons and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyurethane (PU) objects had lost 3% to 5% of their weight. Hydrolysis and biodegradation may have caused further degradation compared to the carbon-carbon backbone polymers. We found 8% weight loss for cellulose coffee cups and 15% for cellulose acetate cigarette filters. Of the compostable disposable bags 73% to 93% of the original weight remained after a year in the mesocosm. These results show that current standard composting tests do not sufficiently describe the (bio)degradation of plastic materials in a marine environment. The presence of many micrometer sized particles on the surface water of the mesocosm suggested that fragmentation had caused, at least in part, the weight loss of the plastic items. This study emphasizes the need to obtain experimental data on long term degradation of plastic litter under conditions that are realistic for marine environments.

Knowing that plastic eventually fragments, what happens to it after it enters the sea, e.g. via rivers? In order to improve our understanding of the distribution and possible accumulation zones of marine plastic litter, a case study simulating microplastics transport in the North Sea was performed by further development of the Delft3D-PART model. By combining hydrodynamics with particle tracking concepts, the model calculated how the position of microplastic particles evolves in time from their release (discharge from rivers such as the Rhine or the Meuse) until the end of the simulation. The settling velocity of the plastic particles in the water system is dependent on the ambient conditions (temperature/salinity) as well as on the particle characteristics (density/size/shape). The developed model is generic and can be extended to other European regional seas. The model results showed that the microplastics having a density lower than the average density of the ambient seawater (1024 kg/m3) follow prevailing wind and current patterns. The higher density microplastics (> 1024 kg/m3) sink quickly close to the input source or travel in the direction of the lowest shear bottom stress. For both sea surface and seabed, the model estimates microplastics accumulation areas near the Thames, the Rhine estuary, and the German and Danish coastal zones. The modelling results have been qualitatively compared with field measurements at sea surface and sediments to explain the amount of microplastics found at certain locations. It is difficult to draw strong qualitative conclusions because of the limited availability of data but to some extent, the model results are comparable with the available field data. Complex processes such as aging, degradation, and fragmentation have not yet been fully incorporated in the model. Smaller particles have a larger surface to volume ratio, an important aspect for biofouling, which causes changes to the density and thus to the long-term dynamic behaviour of plastic litter. One of the main recommendations of this study is to further include these processes in the model. This study illustrates that the modelling approach provides a link between the source and the fate of microplastics. By describing microplastic pathways an overview of estimated accumulation areas is possible, a helpful tool for guided monitoring and data collection campaigns.

TASK 3.6: Innovative litter remediation, recycling and composition analysis in rivers for understanding a key source of marine litter

Marine litter is thought to originate mainly from land. Rivers are hypothesized to be a transportation pathway of land-based inputs of litter to estuarine and marine waters. When the CleanSea project started, it was unclear how much litter was being transported via river systems into the sea. It was unknown if remediation of European rivers by intercepting and removing floating litter from the water could be an effective end-of-pipe measure to reduce fluvial influx of litter to the marine environment. Until influx of litter from landbased sources can be abated by reduction measures closer to or at the source of the litter production chain, cost-effective remediation measures can be considered. River litter monitoring programs and remediation measures could potentially assist EU Member States in their efforts to achieve ‘Good Environmental Status’ for their Regional Seas; the ambition of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). In this research, a river monitoring task was executed to quantify the abundance, type and size of riverine litter that is being transported in the Meuse river, which flows through France and Belgium before entering the Netherlands and debouching into the North Sea. In addition, a river litter remediation tool was field-tested in the same river to determine how much litter could potentially be removed with the device. The remediation tool's optimum capacity and the positive business case outcome of the cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses were determined for the Netherlands and other Member States.

The Meuse river was monitored with two purpose developed sampling devices. Monitoring took place for 11 days and another 8 days during two occasions. The sampling location selected was upstream of the city of Maastricht near the southern border of the Netherlands with Belgium. This choice was based on fact that an artificial shipping canal for commercial shipping bypasses the river Meuse near the sampling location, allowing safe and undisturbed monitoring.

Monitoring of the water column 0-4.5 m resulted in 116 pieces per million m3, where 73% of the macro litter larger than 25 mm, was retrieved in the top 0.5 m. This may point out that most litter is being transported in the top layer. The subsequent smaller mesh monitoring has found that on average the volume of litter on the surface is around 1 item per 19 m2. The accumulated average throughput of litter per million m3 mounts up to 8,550 pieces when measured at mesh size 3.2 mm. The comparison of the two subsequently executed monitoring methodologies can be made for litter larger than 25 mm. On a yearly basis this equals an average emission of 86.3 million pieces of litter larger than 25 mm; this result of the river Meuse monitoring supports the assumption that this river is indeed an important transportation route for macro litter.

A remediation tool developed by ISI to intercept macro litter in a river or canal was used within the CleanSea project. The estimated maximum processing capacity of the remediation tool is 4 tonnes of waste per hour. Intercepting one piece of macro litter plastic may prevent the gradual fragmentation into an unknown number of secondary microplastics. The remediation tool has two 'arms' that generate a 'mouth' of about 14 meters wide. The remediation tool can be mounted on spud-poles or can be otherwise secured. The remediation tool was tested in the River Meuse and the catch was 260 grams of plastic during 2 consecutive days. During testing we learnt that one remediation tool in a river close to the estuary of a deltaic area, at significant river width, is insufficient. Cascading the remediation tool or enlarging the catching arms in order to skim more of the rivers surface may be a suggestion. According to the calculations performed within CleanSea, the remediation tool is a cost effective end-of-pipe intervention tool in the suite of solutions for the EU Member States to mitigate macro litter dispersal. It may also serve to clean waters in countries outside the EU with limited waste management systems, whose waters debouch into the 4 EU Regional Seas, thereby supporting the goal to reach Good Environmental Status for the EU waters.


TASK 4.1: Social and economic drivers behind marine litter and barriers to GES

Task 4.1 resulted in an overview of the various drivers behind the generation of marine litter and the main barriers to achieve good environmental status (GES) with respect to marine litter, differentiated by regional sea. The main socio-economic drivers generating marine litter in the Baltic Sea are mainly linked to consumer behaviour as well as shoreline and recreational activities (including tourists). Relevant economic activities contributing to the problem of marine litter are mainly the shipping and also the fishing industry. The main socio-economic barrier to the achievement of GES with regard to marine litter is the lack of sufficient waste management, both solid waste and wastewater. Lack of comparable and reliable data as well as a harmonized monitoring systems are also major barriers in regard to knowledge about marine litter in the Baltic Sea.

There is an interplay of several driving forces that contribute to marine litter in the North Sea. Overall, demographic drivers (high population density) and economic drivers (tourism, fishing and maritime transport) are some of the key contributors to the existing marine litter problem in the area – nevertheless, there is potential for policy interventions that can successfully mitigate the impact of these driving forces (particularly in the case of tourism and fisheries sector). Cultural drivers seem to have a more moderate impact on the marine environment and there is scope for consumers to assume more responsibility in terms of reducing the environmental impacts of their actions. In comparison with other EU regions North Sea EU member states have more technical capacity and know-how to address marine litter problems. At the same time, there is scope to eliminate several barriers to GES of the North Sea. Limited coordination amongst institutions, insufficient (financial but not only) incentives for collection and recycling of polluting materials and insufficient awareness campaigns are some of the most important barriers identified. In the case of awareness campaigns and institutional coordination, North Sea member states could relatively easily achieve improvements in these domains by coordinating actions and educating consumers about the impacts of marine litter. Again, compared to other EU regions, insufficient technical capacity (in terms of waste treatment facilities, tools and expertise) does not pose a significant barrier that prevents North Sea member states to tackle the marine litter problem.

In the Mediterranean Sea, the manageability of the demographic drivers and the ineffective waste management must be considered as a priority during the establishment of the appropriate strategies, because their contribution to the creation of marine litter problem is relatively high and simultaneously various policies and measures can be implemented in order to alleviate efficiently the triggered impacts. Special attention must be given also to the socio-political drivers, which appear to have medium contribution to the marine litter problem and high potential regarding the confrontation of marine litter impacts. The most important and most difficult to manage socio-economic barriers related to marine litter problem are connected with: (a) insufficient financial incentives to prevent and clean-up marine litter; (b) insufficient awareness campaigns and educational programmes and; (c) technological and other challenges regarding recyclability and reuse of plastics. Inadequate or poor implementation of institutional and legislative framework is also an intense barrier, which requires cooperation between EU Member States, as well as between EU and non-EU countries, which is not always easy to achieve.

As for the Black Sea region, among the main drivers tourism, waste dumping and consumer behaviour are crucial to be addressed for achieving a GES. Particular pressure comes from the rapid augmentation of local population during high seasons, which further leads to increased consumption levels and demand for waste infrastructure. Consumer habits and individual behaviour have a strong positive influence on waste generation and also support such role model continuation by coming generations. The study identified that barriers related to waste management and infrastructure, insufficient incentives for collection, reusing and recycling, coordination at national and international level between institutions, polices implementation and legal enforcement affect negatively the respond to the marine litter problem. Lack of information, data on marine litter quantities and regular monitoring, insufficient awareness and educational problems, lack of organization capacity combined with improper investments are also seen as challenges for the region.

TASK 4.2: Socio-economic assessment of the costs of marine litter

The four case studies covering southern and northern European seas carried out under this task aimed to add to the limited empirical evidence base of the (private and public) costs of marine litter. These costs consist on the one hand of the clean-up costs of beach litter or floating litter in ports and the damage costs to fish nets. The costs of marine litter consist on the other hand also of the environmental damage costs to marine ecosystems and marine living organisms and through existing food chains increasing risks to ecosystems and human health. Each study used a different research methodology, however, within every single case study where possible the same research methodology was used across different European member states to enable cross-country comparisons.

The first case study surveyed beach clean-up costs among several municipalities along the Dutch North Sea and Italian Adriatic Sea. We found enormous variation (€25 - 3810 per tonne), suggesting that there exist significant differences in the cost-effectiveness of the manual and mechanical clean-up methods. However, we were unable to explain this variation, also not when linking these costs to the presence of garbage bins for example although these are expected to lower costs substantially. The study concluded that there is an urgent need for more reliable and consistent data points for more municipalities over a number of years to filter out for example potential weather impacts, including a set of common explanatory factors, such as beach length, number of garbage bins, number of visitors during peak and off-peak season, and more detailed descriptions of the clean-up activities, including or excluding transport of beach litter and waste disposal.

The second survey was carried out in one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean Sea (Barcelona) and consisted of collecting, identifying and tracing the sources of floating debris in the port area. Besides collecting floating debris, also the collection costs were estimated. Based on the identified sources possible future waste prevention measures were identified and their costs were estimated for comparison with the clean-up costs. Not knowing the origin of marine litter makes it hard if not impossible to identify cost-effective measures to target the sources of pollution. Therefore this second survey collected and traced the sources of floating debris in the port area. Most of the litter appeared to come from tourists visiting the harbour. The estimated costs of waste prevention were compared with the annual costs of more than 300 thousand euros to clean-up approximately 35 thousand kg of floating litter every year. The latter is equal to a unit cost of €8,900 per tonne per year for an area just under 4 km2, which is many times more than the clean-up costs of the beaches included in the first survey. Implementing (more) preventive waste management measures such as placing more garbage bins or patrolling the area for littering is expected to substantially reduce these clean-up costs.

In the third survey 785 visitors to 6 urban beaches in Bulgaria, Greece and the Netherlands along the coastlines of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea were interviewed in person using the same questionnaire, and asked about their perception of beach litter, how beach litter affected their beach experience, and whether they would be willing to volunteer in beach clean-up actions or pay local entry fees and municipality taxes for beach clean-up. The study is unique because it is the first to assess the social costs of marine debris washed ashore and litter left behind by beach visitors along different European coast lines. Public willingness to pay (WTP) is on average and in absolute terms significantly higher in Bulgaria than in the Netherlands and Greece. Also in relative terms, compared to the beach visitors’ average annual income levels, the estimated WTP values are highest in Bulgaria, where people are prepared to pay 0.07%) of their income, compared to 0.01% in the Netherlands and 0.003% in Greece. In the Netherlands public willingness to contribute in kind as a volunteer in beach clean-up actions is highest. Moreover, WTP is higher for litter left behind by beach visitors than for litter washed ashore for which they probably feel less responsible, and higher for plastic bags and bottles than for glass bottles and cigarette butts. WTP is lowest for fishnets and ropes. These latter results suggest that although cigarette butts were mentioned most frequently in two samples, visitors prioritize the clean-up of larger plastic bags and bottles over these smaller cigarette butts. The estimated WTP values provide a basis for comparison with actual or potential clean-up costs to assess the economic welfare effects of clean-up actions in a cost-benefit framework.

The fourth and final case study focused on the potential social cost of marine litter to the fishery sector. The European fishery sector generates more than 7 billion euros annually and the main interest here was to assess, based on the available scientific knowledge and evidence, the potential impact of fragmented (micro)plastics on fish stocks and hence the economic value they generate every year, as an indicator of the potential economic damage costs of marine litter. A new 3D-modelling technique was applied to first assess the potential exposure of key fish species to microplastics and the subsequent impacts on the fishery sector in the North Sea. This case study illustrated most evidently the need for integrated environmental-economic impact assessment procedures to assess the socio-economic costs of marine litter. The estimation of the potential economic damage costs of plastic particles in European seas to the European fishery sector depends crucially on the validity and reliability of underlying scientific models, linking exposure to microplastics to the risks to fish and human health. The latter is essential in order to be able to assess the share of fish that can and cannot be marketed without posing any health risks. The economic damage estimates range between more than 100 million euros to over 2 billion euros, illustrating the scientific uncertainties underlying the damage assessment. While these values suggest that the amounts involved may be substantial, they should be treated as provisional and tentative, given our currently very limited understanding of the impacts of marine plastics on fish stocks and human health.

The full social costs of marine litter in Europe could take us on the order of decades to tally completely, but the socioeconomic research in the CleanSea Project done under Task 4.2 has contributed unique new data and interpretation to the small but now growing body of social cost marine litter research available today. The take home message is that marine litter is a titanic market failure because the extensive social costs can be estimated to run in the billions of euros, even within a single sector in one relatively limited sized area of the total expanse of Europe’s marine regions. The ‘polluters’ are as widely distributed and difficult to identify as the tiny pieces of microplastic in the seabeds and water columns. One thing is clear, the polluters, whoever and wherever they are, are currently not paying.

TASK 4.3: Spatial value mapping of the ecosystem services provided by marine ecosystems

In this Task, a database was compiled and analyzed containing existing valuation studies of marine ecosystem services in the four European seas.. The database contains valuation results found in existing studies carried out in European and non-European countries bordering the North Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea over the past 2 decades (1993-2013). A total of almost 100 studies were identified, generating 360 value estimates. Values vary widely across ecosystem services and regional seas. Although the available literature did not enable us to draw conclusions on how the estimated values are affected by marine litter, the results clearly indicate the magnitude of the welfare losses at stake when marine litter reduces or even eliminates the potential of marine ecosystems to provide their services: once again it is likely to be a multi-billion euros issue. Future research is needed to (i) assess the causal link between marine litter and the deterioration of marine ecosystem services and as a result the loss of economic value of these ecosystem services, and (ii) establish a spatial relationship between demand for marine ecosystem services and the associated values on the one hand, and the supply of these ecosystem services on the other hand.

TASK 4.4: Best practice examples of existing economic policy instruments and potential new economic policy instruments to reduce marine litter and eliminate barriers to GES

The key results from this Task can be summarized as follows:
Applying economic instruments is a matter of using the price mechanism smartly to achieve social objectives, with due attention for impacts, costs and benefits throughout the product chain. This can be done at all levels of government, but also by private actors who may apply market incentives to steer the behaviour of their suppliers, employees and customers in a direction that is better aligned with the objective of a clean sea.

By identifying, selecting and combining pre-determined success factors, policy makers can help to ensure the use of appropriate and therefore more effective economic instruments to prevent or reduce marine litter. These factors may include addressing most dominant types of marine litter in the area, targeting key stages of the product-to-waste cycle, and having legislative support.

Economic instruments that are effective in one marine region may not be adequate in another and may need to be adapted to regional contexts. For example, drink bottles are among the most frequently found marine litter types in all regional seas except the Baltic Sea, highlighting the need for alternative instruments to address different marine litter types in the region.

Economic instruments that specifically target regional marine litter issues (e.g. key drivers of marine litter such as cultural drivers or tourism and recreation) will be more appropriate to address regional challenges and therefore more effective at reducing marine litter.

There are opportunities to widen and improve the scope of existing economic instruments (e.g. subsidies for innovation and fines for littering) to further reduce marine litter (e.g. by expanding their geographic scope, increasing the amounts and directing subsidies for innovation to encourage specific types of products and services, or increasing monitoring and enforcement of littering fines).

There is the potential to broaden and adapt the application of economic instruments to reduce marine litter in the EU, as not all of the key marine litter types (e.g. cigarette butts and cotton bud sticks) are addressed by economic instruments. For instance, applying economic instruments that are known to be effective in reducing consumption or increasing rates of collection (e.g. tax on plastic bags and deposit refund schemes for drink bottles) to other types of frequent marine litter items could be considered. Over time, these instruments should reduce the occurrence of these marine litter types, eventually dropping them from the top lists.

As most economic instruments are implemented at a national level, there is the potential to expand the geographic scope of economic instruments to the regional level to address shared regional drivers or sources of marine litter and combine efforts to meet MSFD GES for a region.

The complexity of the marine litter problem means that measures, including economic instruments, should address the issue at different stages, from design and production to clean-up. This would help to ensure that addressing marine litter is not just a matter of cleaning-up. Well designed economic instruments can provide incentives that are transmitted through the product chain, ultimately stimulating innovation in ‘zero waste’ design and production.


TASK 5.1: Institutional context and legislative barriers

The main output under this task was deliverable D5.14 ‘Legislative driving forces behind marine litter’. This report identifies institutional and legal gaps and barriers to achieving Good Environmental Status (GES) in relation to marine litter under the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), using a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) approach to analyse the EU level, as well as the four regional sea basins in the EU, including selected Member States. Summaries of the results of each of these analyses follow below:

1) EU level: At a general level, the policy framework for addressing marine litter is in place at the EU level, particularly through key directives such as the MSFD, the Waste Framework Directive and the Landfill Directive. There are, however, clear barriers to progress, including incomplete and uneven implementation of EU policies across Member States, a need for greater ambition at the EU level (such as through a Union-wide quantitative reduction target) and the specific incorporation of litter into existing policies.

2) North East Atlantic marine region: OSPAR Commission has shown significant political willingness to act to take action on marine litter, and is in the process of developing a regional action plan for marine litter. The strengths of the three Member States (NL, BE, UK) lie in their sound institutional frameworks and capacity, their advanced waste management infrastructures and practices, and high implementation of EU policies. However, progress in waste prevention is lacking, consumer awareness is low and responsible citizen behaviour is limited, indicating a lack of appropriate incentives in legislation.

3) Baltic Sea region: HELCOM is active in monitoring and research activities, with a focus on ship generated waste and port reception facilities, and a regional action plan is being prepared. Significant differences across the examined Member States (DE, SE, LT) were identified in terms of political willingness, institutional frameworks and capacity. In general, Germany and Sweden are more advanced than in Lithuania in terms of having an array of legal instruments for marine litter, including waste management and resource efficiency, greater political willingness (as evidenced through more advanced implementation of the MSFD), and higher public awareness. Policies in Lithuania are less developed and implemented, and political willingness appears lower, with Lithuania not having assessed GES. The prevalence of litter in all three Member States indicates that current policies are inadequate.

4) Mediterranean Sea region: The Barcelona Convention has a history of commitment to marine litter, including a 2013 marine litter action plan. The Member States studied (ES, FR, GR) have all shown some commitment to action on marine litter, but comprehensive measures are still in early stages and targets have yet to be set. No specific marine litter strategies are in place in any country, with the issue being dealt with through sectoral policies. Recent improvements in the implementation of EU waste policies were observed in these countries, with Spain and France making the most progress.

5) Black Sea region: The Bucharest Convention has no strong focus on marine litter issues, neither within the Convention itself nor in its MSFD-related activities. Political will is present, but more effort is needed to translate this into practice. For the Member States (BG, RO) the relevant EU legislation has been properly transposed and developed, but inadequate implementation, challenges in enforcement, few initiatives for sustainable product development and low societal awareness limit progress on marine litter issues.

From these analyses, a comparative assessment of the four regions and selected Member States revealed a broad variation in the activities of the four Conventions in terms of ambition, focus and concreteness. They are currently not pursuing a harmonized approach to their regional action plans, which are all in different states of progress. The various approaches and strategies being developed to address marine litter in the Regional Seas face financial challenges compounded by the diversity of governmental structures and the current global economic condition. The fact that marine litter crosses institutional and administrative departments and funding infrastructures is seen as a challenge to management within these conventions.

Major strengths observed in Member States include adequate institutional frameworks, waste management planning and state of the art waste management infrastructure. In addition, initiatives implementing extended producer responsibility and corporate social responsibility are generating positive contributions. Major weaknesses relate to the lack of specific targets and timetables for addressing marine litter, and governmental funding and staff limitations, observed practically across the board. Most importantly, waste prevention is not coming off the ground in any of the Member States and littering remains a persistent problem.
As a final output of D5.14 a selection of policy options for improvement was compiled, addressing the key ‘building blocks’ for GES used for the analysis throughout. The full recommendations are contained within the report, but key recommendations to the EU level include:

Formulate an EU-wide set of quantitative operational reduction targets for marine litter, as proposed in the 7th EU Environmental Action programme. The formulation of these targets should take into account the different physical, socio-economic characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of the Member States in the four regional seas.
Take action to foster enhanced and harmonized implementation of the MSFD with regard to marine litter by the Regional Sea Conventions as well as the Member States, and engage with non-EU countries on implementing measurements equivalent to MSFD requirements.

Enhance existing legislation by including waste and litter issues, such as the Water Framework Directive (e.g. introduction of a litter indicator, designation of plastics as a priority hazardous substance), the Waste Framework Directive and the Landfill Directive (e.g. tighter control of illegal landfills and dumping).

Add to existing EU food /ecological contaminant regulations or establish new EU legislation defining maximum residue levels of microplastics contamination in fish and other seafood because of environmental and human health risks.

Make waste prevention a top priority in EU policy by mainstreaming it in all EU policies, to start with in EU structural funds projects to be executed in the period 2014-2020.
Improve the waste management infrastructure for waste from the shipping and fisheries sectors taking the waste hierarchy into account.

Amend existing regulations that apply microplastics or substances similar microplastics to products, e.g. the Cosmetics Regulation by adding an environmental objective and list microplastics as a prohibited substance.
Screen existing EU legislation on perverse incentives promoting single-use products (e.g. food safety and hygiene legislation).

Strengthen the corporate social responsibility framework by explicitly recognizing the environmental due diligence principle encouraging companies to choose less harmful options by being made responsible for the product design choices they make and their environmental consequences.
Stimulate companies to implement corporate social responsibility by rewarding those that make good progress with easier access to European Innovation Partnerships and Horizon 2020 funding (research and innovation action as well as coordination and support action).

Promote a governance-by-disclosure approach allowing societal actors to engage in fundamental discussion about responsible actors and the risks society is willing to take.
Include waste considerations and durability and reparability of products as criteria for the EU Ecolabel.

Introduce a ban on single-use plastic bags and a tax for multiple-use plastic bags.
Implement and enforce fine on littering to enhance responsible citizen behaviour, including compulsory participation in clean-up activities for offender.

TASK 5.2: Best practice management measures and strategies

For Task 5.2 we catalogued and evaluated the potential of voluntary institutional arrangements, understood as good and best practices, in reducing marine litter in the four European regional seas. Good practices were defined as those arrangements that have proven to be effective in delivering a contribution to marine litter reduction. Best practices we defined as those good practices that demonstrate social, technological and/or institutional innovation in a specific category of the waste hierarchy.
Three aspects were new about this study. First, it targeted good practices along all stages of the marine waste hierarchy (1) prevention, 2) redesign and/or reuse, 3) recycling, 4) collection, 5) clean-up, and 6) awareness), paying particular attention to upstream initiatives where most information is lacking. Second, it used innovation as the defining criterion for best practice examples. Third, it represented one of the first systematic efforts to understand the potential impact and conditions of success of selected best practices in a comparative fashion, by sharing a common research protocol among partners in the four European regional seas.

Taking the waste hierarchy as a starting point, the analysis showed that awareness raising and clean-up activities were the most frequent both in good and best practice examples. However, we also observed a relatively large number of collection (including treatment and incineration of waste) and, most importantly, redesign initiatives in the ‘best practices’ category in relation to those identified in the ‘good practices’ category, suggesting a trend towards innovation in the earlier stages of the waste hierarchy.

Nine best practices (including Green Deals-NL, Courtauld Commitment-UK, Plastic Free Island of Juist-DE, free port reception facilities-SE, Marine Clean-LT, Cadaqués Deposit-Refund Scheme-ES, Motril fishing waste management system-ES, Pay As You Throw-scheme-EL, Nessebar municipality-BG)were selected to be analysed in more detail in order to further understand their contribution to marine litter reduction. The following selection criteria were employed:
a) best practices should cover collectively all the different stages of the waste hierarchy; and
b) best practices should represent collectively a mix in terms of institutional maturity, ranging from very recently implemented practices to those that have a longer implementation record and are well-embedded in existing institutional structures.

The analysis resulted in five conditions for success that need to be taken into account in the design of practices aiming to address environmental challenges, in general, and marine litter, more specifically:
1. Design practices that are ambitious while acknowledging that ambition is relative depending on the national and regional political and socio-economic context.
2. Ensure that monitoring and compliance mechanisms are in place particularly as initiatives grow and become more heterogeneous.
3. Entice the adoption of the relevant practice by a ‘critical stakeholder mass’ via the provision of not only financial but also social incentives, such as recognition and ownership.
4. Acknowledge the pivotal role of government in the success of voluntary practices through the provision of sound regulatory frameworks, as well as organisational and financial support.
5. Ensure a level playing field within and across regions by supporting the development of more and better practices in regions that are currently lacking them.
We considered each of these conditions equally important. Therefore, policy makers should strive to satisfy them simultaneously in their effort to design and support practices that aim to reduce marine litter in the EU. However, some of these conditions may be easier to meet than others. Moreover, these conditions interrelate to a large extent and the absence of one may jeopardise the success of another.

TASK 5.3: Policy options

In Task 5.3 a set of policy options including regulations and co-management (e.g. public-private partnerships) to address marine litter has been studied and developed. The final deliverable D 5.16 addresses various points in the current product-to-waste chain where policy can intervene: from the design and production of products, through consumption, collection, recycling, waste treatment – and finally clean up. Furthermore, it proposes a region specific mix of measures in response to the main challenges for each of the 4 EU sea basins, which can differ substantial.

In the report, a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) was used to evaluate a list of implemented or suggested measures and policy instruments to prevent or influence the generation of marine litter, for each EU regional sea area. The measures were identified through literature review and project team knowledge on on-going policy developments (e.g. Regional Action Plans on Marine Litter), and further consulted with key stakeholders (e.g. participatory workshops, surveys, interviews). Next to the implemented measures, a number of selected foreseen measures were evaluated, identified in drafted national Programmes of Measures for some countries within each region (e.g. France, Netherlands, Germany and Bulgaria).

The general aim was to evaluate the relative strength of measures that are in place or are being considered in a certain region, in terms of adequacy and effectiveness in reducing marine litter in the area. Furthermore, this exercise allowed the identification of marine litter items, drivers, sources and barriers that may not be sufficiently addressed by current measures.

The second step of this study aimed at identifying priorities for additional measures, based on current gaps in barriers, drivers, product-to-waste cycle stage and key marine litter items that may not be appropriately and sufficiently addressed by practices or policies in place. This step also considered if the list of foreseen measures, included in the Regional Action Plans or/and Programmes of Measures, responded adequately to these gaps. Finally, a mix of policies was designed to address the remaining weaknesses and strengthen the most relevant approaches for each of the four regions.

Also, additional measures from other regions that scored high in the MCA were included in the policy mix. Overall, these tables represent a balanced mix of policy options, with a combination of regulatory and co-management tools that can effectively address marine litter while building upon existing or considered practices at the regional scale.

A final overview figure in the policy mix deliverable report shows the highest ranked implemented and foreseen measures across the different stages in the ‘product-to-waste cycle’ and addresses key source sectors that can generate marine litter (for Europe).


TASK 6.1: Development and operationalization of integrated assessment framework and procedures

Effective governance to reduce marine litter requires an understanding of the connections between the marine litter conditions observed in Europe’s seas and the human activities that act to either drive or prevent and reduce harmful levels of marine litter. In this task, a framework was developed to enable integration of the various societal, natural science and technical aspects of marine litter being addressed in the project. Synthesis of interdisciplinary research findings is important for advancing marine litter understanding and it is of value to policymakers and many other stakeholders.

The project was designed to cover various aspects of the ‘marine litter story’: from observations of marine litter and its effects on creatures in the natural world, to what drives the creation of this problem and how society and particularly the policymakers throughout the EU can deal with this problem and achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) in the European marine environment as required in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

A crucial goal of this project wis to come up with a Road Map to GES for Marine Litter to support the European Commission in its future efforts in achieving a sea free from marine litter and harm. This overall goal is not an isolated objective under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) that requires an isolated approach, but rather a goal that is interlinked to many pressing challenges of our age. These challenges include an economic system reliant on ever-increasing growth in production and consumption, a lack of fully implemented modern waste management across Europe that includes full recycling infrastructure and incentives for resource efficient industrial practices, and in many cases, business/economic trends that may act to drive the growth of marine litter (e.g. in disposable/single-use items, packaging, shipping, fishing and tourism sectors).

In order to link the various relevant natural and social science components in a consistent and transparent way, and develop an integrated perspective on the relevant marine litter issues in relation to the policy objectives of the MSFD, there is a need for an integrating framework. One of the oldest and most frequently applied frameworks in different European research projects is the Driving Forces, Pressure, State, Impact, Response (DPSIR) framework. Elements of this intuitive framework are relevant to the CleanSea project, since the project addresses, inter alia, the driving forces, the pressure that marine litter creates for ecological processes, the presence of marine litter in the sea, its various negative impacts and policy responses. Without purporting to perform a full DPSIR assessment for the whole marine litter issue (with the scale and reiteration that would require), approaching the issue from these elements is intended to help organize and give structure to the research inputs from multiple disciplines in this project.

The integrated framework brings together the many types of knowledge from a whole spectrum of research methods. This report illustrates and discusses the structure which is loosely based on the DPSIR approach, adapted to bringing together the project’s goals and outcomes in a coherent whole. The different chapters of the ‘CleanSea story’ were brought together to aid the inquiry into to the state of the environment and the impacts of marine litter, which motivates us to investigate what is driving the emissions, what is opposing or reversing the emissions (best practises) and finally the policy options and measures that a variety of actors may implement. The basic steps and approach the CleanSea project is taking to reach this integration are presented here, which were key in structuring and the project’s final deliverable, the Road Map to GES, namely the road map for successful and effective European marine litter policy and management.

TASK 6.2: CleanSea Stakeholder Platform in four EU Marine Regions

Stakeholder engagement in CleanSea was important for two reasons. Firstly, input from stakeholders was useful especially for the research into policy options and mitigative measures and to stay abreast of the challenges being faced in the different marine regions of Europe with MSFD implementation. Secondly, the engagement with stakeholders was important to the project for dissemination purposes. The dissemination aspect was particularly important in the stakeholder platform activities in the Black Sea region, where nascent expertise is being developed, and where workshop participants were primarily interested in learning from the workshops, which had somewhat of a marine litter ‘training’ character, especially in the beginning of the project.

While the project does aspire to promote stakeholder learning, the objective of CleanSea was not to establish a permanent CleanSea stakeholder platform, as this would be in conflict with the lifetime and budget limitations of the project. However, in interacting with stakeholders, also informal stakeholder networks were created, which might have, or develop, a permanent character and could possibly also outlive the CleanSea Project. While the members of the CleanSea stakeholder platforms might occupy important roles in the management and decision making on marine litter, the CleanSea stakeholder platforms themselves were of an informal, non-permanent nature and do not carry any decision-making power.

CleanSea’s organised stakeholder interactions consisted of eleven one- to two hour-, half- or one day workshops held in four regional sea areas (more specifically in Bulgaria, Spain, The Netherlands and Germany). Furthermore, 16 telephone and in-person interviews were conducted with key persons, supplemented by informal and ad-hoc one-to-one meetings at conferences and other networking platforms.

The CleanSea workshops typically consisted of presentations from the CleanSea Project team and local experts in the field, as well as from participants, and of a deliberative part. Designing the workshops to include an interactive part proved to be beneficial in managing the dialogue with the participants and thus highly valued. The presentations from the CleanSea Project team were mainly based on WP4 (Socio-economic impacts of marine litter and barriers to GES) and WP5 (Overcoming institutional barriers to GES with management measures and policy options to reduce marine litter). Due to their strong local focus, differing amounts of participants and settings, the workshops in the four Regional Seas were very diverse. It should be noted that stakeholders for the more technical CleanSea WPs dealing with macrolitter, microplastics impacts and new tools (WP2 and WP3) were heavily engaged with stakeholders but mostly via other routes, making use of existing platforms where this type of exchange and engagement takes place. Besides the CleanSea workshops, CleanSea Project Partners and the Coordinator actively participated in discussions with the Technical Subgroup Marine Litter throughout the entire duration of the project. CleanSea coordinator and partners engaged for example with the Joint Program Initiative Oceans and the CSA Oceans FP7 project (which facilitates JPI Oceans implementation in its start-up phase).

Besides the discussions on the scientific content, the purpose of the CleanSea stakeholder engagement activities was also to promote the formation of a network of stakeholders in the field of marine litter management. Despite the limited time and budget, this goal was mostly reached. In the Netherlands and Germany, where already an active stakeholder community exists, CleanSea could re-inforce these activities. In Spain, the CleanSea workshops even led to the formation of the Spanish Association on Marine Litter. In Bulgaria, the stakeholder engagement process contributed to the establishment of a foundation for future interactions and discussions between stakeholders as part of the MSFD implementation.

TASK 6.3: Guidance and road mapping to GES

In the guidance and roadmapping task we took an approach that was initially designed in Task 6.1 and further developed into the final product geared towards policy makers, policy implementers and other users with similar interests in mitigation of marine litter. This included: i) describing what the problem of marine litter is; ii) highlighting the urgency of the issue; iii) presenting in a transparent manner the knowledge generated and policies that are now available for reaching Good Environmental Status (GES) for marine litter; iv) drafting a vision for 2050; v) drawing attention to the opportunities for action and the benefits these actions bring; and vi) suggesting key recommendations on next steps. These are all described in the Deliverable 6.19 and also in the CleanSea final brochure published online in 7 European languages. Key recommendations for next steps include the following:

1) Focus on prevention of marine litter as a more powerful mitigative approach compared to remediation after the pollution has already had an opportunity to cause damage. While practical for small areas like popular beaches, ports and urban canals especially while the rate of emissions is still high, the continuous remediation of the gigantic seawater volumes in our European seas is simply not a viable or ecologically sound answer. It is impossible to access and remove litter at a rate that can compete with the rate of new litter inputs, and litter removal strategies easily remove sea life inadvertently. Remediation commences only after the pollution has had ample opportunity to cause damage. Prevention and ‘precycling’ on the other hand, saves money and leads to business innovation and better products, and can completely circumvent the pollution stage. Prevention of marine litter can start in the product design phase when new products are built to be long-lasting, reusable, reparable, remanufacturable and recyclable, with the most effective application of resources, using recyclates, nontoxic substances and renewable energy, i.e. the circular economy. This entails following the European waste management hierarchy, with priority given to those stages that lead to waste prevention and ‘waste to resource’ fates and in general, a more regenerative system.

2) Such a regenerative system does not include the enormous amount of plastic waste Europe creates annually, and there are vast possibilities to reduce this. Arguably there are too many disposable, single use plastic applications, many of which cannot be recycled, but which are tempting to today’s mobile, convenience-oriented consumers. Single use plastic items are common in marine litter.

3) Implement regulatory instruments which are effective in promoting sustainable production (eco-design, design for sustainability), use and recovery of products and materials (e.g. performance based business models for marketing products) and therefore can be applied to enhance different stages in the circular economy and prevent marine litter generation. No environmental problem has been solved without a strong legal framework.

4) Provide economic incentives and disincentives to change behaviour in different actors and sectors to reduce marine litter. These come in the form of taxes, fees, deposits and subsidies. Economic instruments can be powerful instruments for rapid market transformation. Expanding the scope and geographic coverage of successful instruments and initiatives, (e.g. no-special-fee in maritime transport or pay-as-you-throw schemes) needs only small adjustments to adapt instruments to local contexts. Economic instruments that are known to be effective in reducing the consumption or increasing the rates of collection of certain items (e.g. tax on plastic bags and deposit refund schemes for drink bottles) could be applied to other types of common marine litter items.

5) Extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes can be broadened to cover more products and sectors especially those that produce high amounts of marine litter. EPR can be used to incentivize companies to adopt circular economic business models. Policies that increase the transparency of product content and help make clean (nontoxic) secondary raw materials more competitive are welcome.

6) Green public procurement is currently only a voluntary policy in Europe, but public authorities spend ca. 1.8 trillion euros a year (14% of GDP in EU) on procurement of goods and services . The public sector itself holds untapped power to influence the market by purchasing policies that preferentially select regenerative, litter-beating products (e.g. reusables instead of disposables; new products containing recyclates).

7) As part of the overall policy mix, encourage and facilitate voluntary measures and public private partnerships that are potentially successful in reducing marine litter. Government involvement has been critical to the success of such measures to date.

8) Invest wisely in monitoring programmes and marine litter research and in both the natural and social sciences, with special attention to, inter alia, analytical method development, research and monitoring databases, modelling, environmental impact in terms of both ecotoxicology and resource extraction and use, socio-economic, behavioural and governance research in order to support policy and businesses transitioning into circular economic business models that reduce marine litter generation.

9) Studies of the risks of human exposure to microplastics via the marine food chain would be able to answer many pertinent human health questions that arise from marine research projects such as CleanSea.

10) Recognise that tiny-scale, personal choices to reduce, reuse and recycle in our own lifestyles help, especially to create public awareness and cultural acceptance of the problem and policies to abate it. Such choices get markedly more powerful when they are taken at the corporate level, or at the level of the EU’s public sector.

11) Unlike consumers, manufacturers and retailers have the power to directly control procurement of materials, packaging and product design, and finally to convince consumers to purchase their end product using persuasive state-of-the-art marketing techniques. There is a key role for producers and retailers in offering products that are not designed for a future as dominant marine litter items. Supporting large-scale, powerful changes in our litter-generating system of production and consumption is imperative for significant reductions in marine litter. Therefore the powerful policies, economic instruments, leadership in businesses, litter problem-solving technologies discussed here all provide the sturdy structural support needed to keep things moving and to give direction to and drive the actions.

Potential Impact:
A key aim of the CleanSea Project was to support the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) by providing new knowledge, information, analyses and policy options which are useful to the European Commission, Regional Seas Conventions and actors within the Member States. Through the stakeholder engagement and extensive dissemination efforts in the project (WP6 and 7) described in detail in this final report, the CleanSea Project was in constant contact with relevant actors, either from the private sector, from public institutions at various governance levels dealing with marine litter, civil society, and a variety of scientists from different research disciplines. This contact was designed into the project to guide the research, and to increase awareness, acceptance and impact of the project results.

Member States have been designing, implementing and evaluating various activities for the MSFD. assessments, programmes of measures to reduce marine litter, marine litter monitoring programs. The results of CleanSea feed directly into these activities. First, CleanSea measured amounts and types of litter present in European marine environment and established how microplastics negatively impact marine life. This is key information because the goal of the MSFD is to reach Good Environmental Status i.e. the situation in which marine litter levels do not cause harm. The research showed that primary producers (algae) at the very base of the food chain in the sea were only impacted at high concentrations of nanosized plastic particles in laboratory experiments, but the ecological modelling used toxicity data for secondary producers (i.e. one step up in the food chain from algae) and predicted a reduction in biomass in secondary producers of 5-10% in the North Sea pelagic system. This reduction of biomass quite low in the food chain could have implications for fisheries and biodiversity if marine litter pollution continues to accumulate. Such pioneering ecosystem approaches will be useful to exploit in the future in marine litter research, as there is great interest in translating impacts on individuals up through populations and interpret what the impacts are at ecosystem level.

The CleanSea sampler that was developed has a great many advantages over current techniques to sample the water column for microplastics (e.g. manta trawl). The CleanSea sampler produced by an SME in Denmark can help Member States and researchers collect samples with more precisely known volumes of seawater, and the sampler enables sampling not only at the surface but also at different depths. It is hoped that the SME will benefit from additional orders of the apparatus.

The hydrodynamic modelling used to predict litter transport was compared to empirical data and it is a very important result that both approaches indicate that litter (macro and microsized) is ultimately transported to the seabed, and that this sedimentation process probably occurs relatively close to shore. This may be surprising after so much publicity about large amounts of marine litter in the remote gyres - but the CleanSea project helps clarify the observation that there is a lot of litter to be found in estuaries and close to coastlines as well. Fragmentation studies in CleanSea help us understand the persistence of plastic marine litter, and how fragmentation might influence distribution by the size-dependence of transport distances before sedimentation occurs. All this information is important for the design of monitoring programs, which will start up in 2018.

In addition monitoring programs can make use of the analytical techniques applied in CleanSea, such as DART-MS and the hyperspectral imaging that were used in addition to more common and traditional techniques for microlitter (e.g. FTIR and Raman spectroscopy). River monitoring is becoming increasingly interesting because of the high levels of litter in riverine and freshwater environments, that ultimately act as a source of marine litter as river water and the litter in it is carried to the marine environment. New estuarine and urban freshwater environmental litter concentration data as well as other data can be used as inputs for baselines in the monitoring studies.

Another key way the CleanSea project can have an impact is through its 3 WPs that were fully or partially dedicated to social sciences research (WPs4-6). Here the research results went into creating i) clearly presented portfolios of policy options and economic instrument policy options to mitigate marine litter in the four marine regions of Europe, ii) the Roadmap to Good Environmental Status for Marine litter and iii) the analysis of voluntary measures (public-private partnerships etc.) to mitigate marine litter and various conditions that are met in examples of successful measures. These project deliverables were designed and written to help the European Commission, Member States and the Regional Seas conventions act to mitigate marine litter through a mix of policies and public-private partnerships. From our consultations with stakeholders in all the four marine regions of Europe we are aware of the interest in these products. These project products provide unique insights into what is happening across the geographical regions, and there are quite some differences in approaches which provide material for learning from each others best practises and ideas. The CleanSea stakeholder platform has had an impact on bringing marine litter stakeholders together and the CleanSea workshops held in Spain (Mediterranean) led to the formation of the Spanish Association on Marine Litter. In the Black Sea region where marine litter stakeholder networks are not built up as they are in the Baltic or North East Atlantic regions, CleanSea workshops brought together MSFD implementation related stakeholders and helped establish a foundation for future contacts and exhanges. The Black Sea region delegates and Regional Seas Convention representatives expressed great interest in the reports coming out of the CleanSea project, and communicated that the overview of policy options and measures also going on in other regions outside the Black Sea will be particularly beneficial to the progress towards GES in the Black Sea. Furthermore some important insights into what appears to be making voluntary measures effective (or not) can be found in the CleanSea results already disseminated. Voluntary measures are very popular, but it’s important to understand how they work and the conditions for success. Another important message, perhaps the most important one, that came out of practically all the research is the need to focus on prevention of litter – if this is understood, the research shows this could have a major impact on marine litter mitigation. Cleanup was shown in the economic studies to carry extremely high costs and damage to human welfare, and the problem is cleanup is a never-ending process as long as prevention is not addressed. The roadmap presented in the brochure published freely online and in an upcoming peer reviewed publication synthesizes the research, provides a vision for the future, but also expresses clearly the key messages like prioritizing prevention and especially useful are the many practical actions offered that policy makers can take right away.
In systems theory, one of the more powerful points of intervention is the injection of information. When one can increase the information flow towards decision makers in a timely manner, it has a lot of power to create change, in this case in the system that is generating massive amounts of marine litter annually in Europe’s seas. The CleanSea project is a research project that recognized this and paid particular attention to strengthening the information flow by engaging intensively with stakeholders and establishing and disseminating a new knowledge base from which Europe can continue the daunting yet inspiring and hopeful journey toward cleaner seas in the future.

CleanSea acknowledged the importance of dissemination activities from the start and therefore provided the project with a professional dissemination package (WP7), including a documentary film, informative website, social media, publications, etc. under the leadership of EUCC Mediterranean Centre and with participation of all project partners with special relevant input of the project coordinator (VUA), the film producer Callisto and the KIMO network.The objective of WP 7 was to facilitate and execute the CleanSea dissemination plan, making project objectives, developments and results known to all relevant stakeholders. The WP further aimed to bridge for exchange with related EU projects and initiatives and at a later stage produce a professional documentary film to highlight the results of the project and increase impact.
The first edition of the Dissemination and Media Plan (DMP) focused on the first 18 months of the project (January 2013/June 2014). It intended to organise and address the promotion needs of the project at early stage when the emphasis is on calling attention on the project existence, goals and expected results; ensuring a good flow of information towards our target groups as well as facilitating their feedback and influence on project developments. The second edition of the DMP focused on enhancing the use of the promotion and dissemination tools and producing a new set of targets for evaluation.
To streamline and facilitate communication and dissemination efforts by project partners, a communication toolkit was developed ensuring a coherent visual identity of the project. The tool kit includes: the corporate design with project logo (different versions and instructions of use), a template for PPT presentations and templates for scientific posters (A0 and A1), office paper/cover page, templates for project deliverables and a “Dissemination Quick Guide for CleanSea project partners”. The latest instructed partners on their responsibilities regarding: i) reporting of CleanSea dissemination activities; ii) cooperation in the publication of scientific results; iii) guidelines for dealing with the media and iv) European Commission / FP7 Technical rules for publicity and in dissemination activities/products.

In this context, during the first 18 months of the project the focus was on the development of a content based website and printed promotional material as an information sheet in 10 languages and a CleanSea poster designed to raise awareness of the project at conferences and workshops. The electronic newsletter was launched and 2 issues were sent out to 261 subscribers. Regarding social media only Facebook was in place during this phase.
During the last year of the project, we have focused on communicating results and facilitating them in a format that can be the basis for future further research and policy development. To this end, the website was updated and enhanced.

In order to provide access to key findings of those deliverables which are not of public nature, Deliverable Summary Sheets have been produced and made accessible via the website section “Results and Downloads” and printed for dissemination on suitable meetings and events.
A special edition of the EUCC´s membership magazine Coastal & Marine was produced and launched in October 2016 under the editorial lead of the project scientific coordinator and the WP7 team, as a partners’ collaborative effort. This 28 pages full colour magazine highlights the importance of interdisciplinary and collaborative research. It provides insight on forward-looking marine microlitter sampling techniques; the engagement of stakeholders through the CleanSea platform; plastic ingestion and impacts in biota, as well as, about the specific economic sectors and costs of marine litter. Furthermore, this magazine is the result of a joint effort from researchers all throughout Europe. Throughout this magazine, we shared with a wide audience a selection of highlights of the project, focusing on different aspects and regions. The magazine was mailed and moreover disseminated digitally through the CleanSea electronic newsletter, website and social media, and through the CleanSea partners’ dissemination channels. It was furthermore promoted through other digital channels a with wide audience such as ResearchGate.
A final brochure, “Policy options for litter free seas” summarises the CleanSea final deliverable, the Roadmap to a CleanSea, to policy and decision makers. It aims to provide policy makers, regional and local authorities, and other interest groups with practical policy options and co-management measures to support progress towards marine litter reduction. The 13 page brochure is available in 7 European languages (EN, FR, ES, NL, DE, RO, BG) and has been widely disseminated electronically EU-wide through the CleanSea electronic newsletter, website and facebook and at a national level by the different partners.

A “Scientific papers portfolio” is publicly available at the website aiming to present and give access in a consistent manner to CleanSea project research scientific results, which have been or are about to be published as scientific papers in peer reviewed journals. During the three years of the project, 11 peer reviewed papers have been published in a series of journals covering both natural and social sciences findings. This number increases as to the planned publications as a good number of results are being consolidated at the end of the project life. There are already 12 scientific papers either in the pipeline, under review or under development. More results are expected to come available through publications in the near future.

By the last year of the project the electronic newsletter reached 311 subscribers.

Regarding social media CleanSea has used this approach to increase outreach compared to static websites, by using: Website powered by Drupal content management system; Facebook; LinkedIn; Twitter; Mailchimp; Youtube and Vimeo. is the project Facebook page and has been used since early in the project to post CleanSea outputs and events as well as sharing other content related to marine litter in a balanced and rigorous way. CleanSea communication team has posted regularly content in the page which has over 280 followers. is the CleanSea LinkedIn group. Due to the professional nature of this social network, it served to disseminate more science oriented information arising from the project, as well as events. Although a CleanSea account was not created on Twitter social network, CleanSea has been present mainly through #cleansea DG Mare account and the Project Coordinator’s organisation also supported project communication by posting information on twitter, such as the launch of the Coastal&Marine Special and the CleanSea Final Symposium and film premiere.

CleanSea has a YouTube account that has been used to upload the documentary film ( and trailer as well as multiple clips from the CleanSea final symposium ( It was live streamed using this platform and the video has been cut into clips to make it easier to the viewer to find the content.
As for Vimeo, an account was created to upload several videos: two interviews with CleanSea team, a project presentation at the Berlin marine litter conference and the documentary trailer (see It is remarkable to note that the interview with project coordinator has 723 reproductions, at an early project stage.

A key element of our communication strategy was the production of the CleanSea documentary film (20 min) to highlight the results of the project. The film was premiered in the final event and distributed in DVD during that event and by mailing. The story places CleanSea into context and explains why the research work was needed, what problems the team has been trying to solve, how the work was carried out, who was involved, the collaborative nature of the process, summarise the results and explain how this knowledge can be applied. Efforts were further placed on an attractive design of the disc and packaging supplied in a four page ‘digipack’ format including a short booklet with the Sypnosis, information on the project and the project team, some powerful stills and technical and contact information. An electronic press kit (EPK) was produced and remains accessible through the “Film” section of CleanSea website to encourage the media to feature the project and film in their publications and broadcasts.

The EPK, downloadable in PDF format, features the film poster as a cover and includes the trailer; general information and technical details; the film credits; synopsis; the film logline; Executive Producer’s Statement; production stills; CleanSea Film FAQs and information about the CleanSea Project & Consortium.
On top of these efforts, the most important moment of the project in terms of outreach was with no doubt the CleanSea Marine Litter Symposium & Film Premiere which was attended by well over 200 participants from science, policy, industry, civil society and the media in the largest cinema of EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam on December 3, 2015. The event was followed by live streaming roughly by an additional 100-200 people. The interdisciplinary research carried out in the European FP7 CleanSea Project was presented, along with the film produced as part of the project. The event was live streamed and the video is still available for the full event or single videos in the playlist in our YouTube channel .

The event aimed to be dynamic and inspiring for an interdisciplinary and broad audience, departing from some of the traditional format aspects of scientific symposia while ensuring top quality of the presentations and content. To this end, the event was conducted by a professional Dutch presenter, Lars Sørensen, which provided a lively and participatory atmosphere. The opening included two keynote speeches by project coordinator Heather Leslie introducing CleanSea and by Dr. Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency who talked about fundamental transitions and how marine litter triggers our need for innovation.
CleanSea believes in joint efforts and we wish to highlight the contacts with an extensive number of other European and international projects and organisations that focus on the marine litter issue which have benefited the project, both in terms of input and the dissemination that being embedded in a large network facilitates. The coordinator has been especially active in this respect, establishing contacts with the EU Technical Subgroup on Marine litter, Joint Programme Initiative Oceans, and projects as PERSEUS; MICRO, MARELITT, MARLIN, BIOCLEAN, ODEMM, MISIS, MERMAID, STAGES, PEGASO, MEDINA, MedSeA, ULIXES, CREAM, COCONET, VECTORS and MED-JELLYRISK as well as with a number of non-EU funded marine litter research projects, NGOs and governance bodies working on the marine litter issue, such as UNEP (CleanSea Coordinator is also co-chair of the UN GESAMP working group 40 on a global assessment of microplastics), the NOAA and others.
Hands on cooperation has also taken place through partners as e.g. the Romanian partner NIMRD and the PERSEUS and MARLISCO projects, the KIMO contribution to the Dutch Green Deals, the collaboration of EUCC with DeFishGear to hold the Mediterranean Stakeholders workshop under WP6 and so on.

Furthermore, P5 (KIMO) has acted as a direct channel to engage and disseminate outputs of CleanSea to local authorities in all the countries where the KIMO as a network of municipalities is represented (e.g. NL, BE, UK, DK, NO, SE, IE among others) and to a nascent network of regional coastal communities throughout Europe. KIMO has issued and distributed a number of publications on CleanSea activities for distribution to the network and in festivals and exhibitions, including a final report at the project end distributed to all network members.

All CleanSea partners were proactive and collaborated in the dissemination and communication efforts. as proves the over 150 dissemination actions reported, as per example over 50 presentations at Scientific conferences, 33 presentations to a wider audience, 12 scientific papers published and a similar number in the pipeline, 8 press releases, 14 interviews to radio, tv, press and one webinar, articles in specialised and popular media, 5 CleanSea workshops targeting key stakeholders, a CleanSea travelling exhibition, participation at several festivals, one Documentary film and the CleanSea Final symposium.

List of Websites:
The website includes links to youtube videos, and documentary film can be watched there as well.
Contact details:
Heather A. Leslie PhD, Coordinator CleanSea Project
Institute for Environmental Studies - Instituut voor Milieuvraagstukken (IVM)
Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences (FALW)
VU University Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1087
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
t + 31 (0)20 59 89597 (direct)
t + 31 (0)20 59 89555 (Secretariat)
f + 31 (0)20 59 89553