Marine litter is recognised as a growing emergent pressure on the coastal and marine environment. It has trans-boundary impacts on wildlife and habitats as well as on human activities and health. Following the Rio +20 conference, the EU is part of an international commitment to reduce marine litter significantly by 2025. A main contribution to this commitment is the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The MSFD determines that EU member States will implement measures to achieve or maintain good environmental status of the marine environment by 2020. Marine litter is identified as one of the main threats to reaching this objective. At present, there is insufficient data to assess the problem of marine litter properly. Moreover, in view of the overall monitoring requirements for MSFD purposes, Member States will need to develop innovative and cost-efficient monitoring methods and tools. To address this issue, the EEA is offering the citizen science based Marine LitterWatch. Marine LitterWatch aims to help fill data gaps on beach litter fit for MSFD purposes at the same time as it explores the benefits of involving citizens in the collection and monitoring of marine litter. Following the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) principles Marine LitterWatch is developed to collect the data once and use for multiple purposes. Data will be collected through the use of a mobile application. Marine LitterWatch applies a two-tier approach: monitoring to support official processes and voluntary clean-ups. This way, Marine LitterWatch sustains a collective approach to marine litter management by involving and engaging as well as raising awareness amongst government bodies, industry and citizens. Initially, Marine LitterWatch is available for Android devices.
Agriculture, Environmental Management, GIS, Public Administration & Policy, Public Transit