For a litter free Baltic Sea

The BLASTIC project, an EUSBSR Flagship under Policy Area Hazards, aims to reduce plastic waste and, thereby, the inflow of hazardous substances into the Baltic Sea by mapping and monitoring the amounts of litter in the aquatic environment.

Litter is one of the widest spread environmental pressures in the world. When litter reaches the waterways, it becomes a grave issue to our marine ecosystems. The full extent of the issue is something that we yet don’t understand. What we do know is that the litter mostly consists of plastics, which is a dire threat to organisms and entire ecosystems. As previous work has shown, the issue of marine litter does not obey boundaries, nor does it entirely concentrate on specific areas. The issue is global and no ocean, not even our Baltic Sea, is safe from the threat. Therefore, the prevention of further pressure is crucial.

A central goal of the project is to compile a list of pathways and sources as well as recommendations for cost-effective measures to combat marine litter in e.g. the waste and water sector on a municipal level. Methodology for waste inflow monitoring is tested in urban pilot areas to identify the role of different pathways and sources. The results will contribute to one of the main goals of the project: a checklist on best practices to prevent marine litter to be used by the municipal authorities.

During the year 2017, BLASTIC's foremost activities included the monitoring of the pilot areas, which received a lot of media attention and raised awareness for the general cause, something that we consider to be a vital part of the battle against marine littering. The principle for the monitoring was quite straightforward: a litter trap consisting of a boom and net was placed in a water way and the trapped litter items were collected and categorized. To educate a younger audience, a booklet intended to be used in schools and kindergartens was published and was translated to all partner country languages. [...]

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