Hanke, G., Walvoort, D., Van Loon, W., Addamo, A.M., Brosich, A., del Mar Chaves Montero, M., Molina Jack, M.E., Vinci, M., Giorgetti, A.
Reducing litter in the coastal and marine environment is a major and priority challenge in the effort to preserve biota, ecosystems, as well as goods and services that humans derive from seas and oceans. The identification of the most abundant beach litter items, the 'Top Marine Beach Litter Items', is a matter of concern for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the EU Plastics Strategy and in general for the prioritisation of measures against marine litter. Specific measures are needed to prevent further inputs and reduce the abundance of litter items. Based on a 2016 beach litter data set, this report has identified the most abundant items on EU beaches. A total of 355 671 marine litter items were recorded during 679 surveys on 276 European beaches. The quantification of items through beach litter monitoring enables a ranking of items based on their numerical abundance. While a few studies from regional sea conventions (RSCs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and research projects have ranked items by their occurrence on beaches at different spatial scales, there had been no EUwide analysis before this report. This report has been developed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) within the MSFD Technical Group on Marine Litter (TG Marine Litter). It compiles available studies and publications of lists of the main marine beach litter items. While several publications describe and apply different calculation methods, which might lead to different results, this report applies the 'total abundance method' to a set of European beach litter data that had been collected by the TG Marine Litter. Data is based on a oneyear sampling exercise (2016) and includes the findings of monitoring programmes, clean-up campaigns and research projects. The results of the report (which also address single-use products) are provided to support the development of the EU Plastics Strategy. The data analysis involved the grouping of spatial-temporal data at European, regional and national levels, and includes the seasonal variability of beach litter. This report also gives a brief review of potential item-related risk, and prioritisation based on their potential to harm. The report provides information that will help develop and implement the most efficient measures against marine litter.
Marine Litter, Beach Litter
JRC Scientific and Technical Reports
EUR 29249 EN
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