Marine and Coastal ecosystems sustainability
The Adriatic Sea is a semi-enclosed basin with slow currents and long water retention time, which makes it vulnerable to pollution and, particularly, to marine litter (ML), which is defined as any persistent, manufactured or processed solid material discarded in the marine and coastal environment. The prevailing fraction of marine litter is composed of plastic materials.
An integrated approach to Marine and Coastal sustainability
In particular, micro plastics generation represents a growing cause of concern for the degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems, potentially compromising the functionality of the ecosystem itself and reducing the quality of coastal waters for fishing and tourism. Furthermore, trans-boundary effects are already known in this area, with floating marine litter travelling across borders.
Undoubtedly, this common issue requires a common approach to be correctly dealt with. As emerged by previous research performed during the DeFishGear (DFG) project, tourism sector is strongly contributing to marine litter production and dispersion in this region, while fishery sector is perceived as important facilitator in the process of marine litter reduction.
Activities responsible for marine environment degradation
As established in DFG project, although local communities, coastal tourism and the fishing sector contribute to the marine litter problem, they can also be part of the solution. The fishing sector has a strong potential in dealing with the marine litter issue, for both prevention, by increasing awareness in the correct disposal of obsolete fishing gears, and reduction, by acting in Fishing for Litter (FfL) initiatives.
The University Cà Foscari of Venice is Project Coordinator. Limosa is a project partner together with ISPRA Institute for Environmental Protection and Research and the M.A.R.E. cooperative of Cesenatico. Thanks to its experience and skills in the field of environmental education and sustainable tourism, Limosa will deal with the involvement of tourists and the interventions in schools.
Involve local communities, fishing and tourism to save the sea from pollution
The ML-REPAIR project will implement its activities both in Italy and Croatia, capitalizing the results of the DFG project. It will base its strength on pursuing the development of collaborative activities among different entities, strengthening joint governance on marine litter management, addressing above mentioned target groups – local communities, fishery sector and tourism sector – by means of:
- Testing new educational tools for inducing a positive change in attitudes and behaviour toward marine litter among future generations, and fishery communities;
- Raising awareness of tourists on coastal areas, thus supporting also a sustainable growth of the tourism sector;
The ML-REPAIR Project will contribute to an environmentally sustainable growth of tourism and fishery activities in the Adriatic Sea by providing efficient approaches and actions able to reduce and control marine litter in the Adriatic Sea and consequentially improve environmental quality of its waters in the mid to long term:
– land-sources marine litter produced by tourists ad communities located along the Adriatic coastal area are expected to be decreased through tailored education and awareness actions,
– a quantitative removal of anthropic debris accumulated on the sea floor according to proper environmental good practices is envisaged during the project implementation,
– innovative solutions such as testing tools and technologies will help decision makers to efficiently approach the marine litter issue in the short-term time.
Other actions will concern the involvement of fishermen and scientific monitoring along the coasts.
Some parts of this article have been extracted from the report: Marine Litter assessment in the Adriatic & Ionian seas, pubblicato nell’ambito del progetto triennale IPA-Adriatic DeFishGear. Download at: http://www.isprambiente.gov.it/it/archivio/notizie-e-novita-normative/notizie-ispra/2017/02/marine-litter-assessment-in-the-adriatic-ionian-seas.