Plastics in the Mediterranean: the European project to preserve marine protected areas kicks off
Plastic pollution poses a serious threat to the marine and coastal environment of the Mediterranean. To mitigate this phenomenon, the European Union’s regional development programme, Interreg Europe, has recently approved and granted considerable funding to Plastic Busters MPAs, the first project on a Mediterranean scale, in which the EU member states and some candidate countries will join forces to tackle the issue of marine litter through a coordinated approach.
The project was developed within the Plastic Busters initiative of the University of Siena and its marine ecology and environmental ecotoxicology researchers, led by professor Maria Cristina Fossi, who for years have been devoted to scientific research, public awareness raising activities and institutional networking for the protection of the Mediterranean from plastic waste.
The Plastic Busters MPAs project has received 5 million euro in funding for 4 years and will involve 15 partners from Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Albania, Croatia and Slovenia under the scientific responsibility of the University of Siena and the coordination of ISPRA-Institute for Environmental Protection and Research.
The aim of the project is to define the impact of micro- and macroplastics on the biodiversity of marine protected areas, define and test surveillance, prevention and mitigation measures to tackle marine plastic pollution, develop a common framework of actions, policies and legislation. The project also aims to define a joint governance plan in order to extend the good practices identified to all the protected marine areas in the Mediterranean. In its final part, the project will provide policymakers with recommendations and strategies for the management of marine plastic waste.