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Assessment of riverine litter (plastics) inputs to the marine environment

Project description

Tracking movement of plastics from rivers

Under the pressure of climate change, scientists are searching for new, more effective ways to protect marine fauna and flora. Pollution is a huge obstacle. Plastic litter is one of the biggest causes of pollution for rivers, seas and oceans. Millions of tonnes of plastic enter the oceans, with much of this coming from land-based sources through rivers. Anthropogenic riverine litter is emerging as a major global environmental concern. The EU-funded LitRivus project will shed new light on riverine litter. It will evaluate international data, collaborate with experts, and review policy and decision-making frameworks. The aim is to guarantee a science–policy knowledge transfer to improve plastic mitigation measures.


Assessing riverine litter input variability to the marine environment at large scale through field data collection: progress in
marine litter pollution science beyond the state-of-the-art.

Marine litter is a major global environmental concern and highly relevant in the political agendas and environmental policy frameworks, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals.The fact that the patterns in dynamics and distribution of riverine litter remain unknown to date underlines that LitRivus can greatly advance the field of marine litter and the global plastics issue. The project will be focused on innovative monitoring methods to study riverine litter input, providing details on dynamics and variability of litter flux in rivers, which is the missing information necessary to validate models for assessment of riverine litter loads to the sea. Empirical data will facilitate formulation of models to reduce uncertainties and improve estimations. Moreover, the use of international data from RIMMEL project (DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission) and collaboration with experts through RiLiNet will provide the project a large scale. Publication of these results will be very welcome internationally, providing a new approach to the topic based on field data, and serving larger goals pursued by the scientific community, e.g. calculation of marine litter mass balances at different geographical and temporal scales. Furthermore, this will be the first time comprehensive data on riverine litter inputs will be evaluated in relation to policy and decision-making frameworks, such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Water Framework Directive and the EU Strategy for plastics, thus guaranteeing that science-policy knowledge transfer is achieved in order to improve plastic mitigation measures.


Net EU contribution
€ 160 932,48
11003 Cadiz

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Sur Andalucía Cádiz
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 160 932,48