Title: Marine litter database
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2018
JRC N°: JRC112895
ISBN: 978-92-79-97867-8 (online),978-92-79-97866-1 (print),978-92-79-98212-5
ISSN: 1831-9424 (online),1018-5593 (print),1831-9424
Other Identifiers: EUR 29469 EN
OP KJ-NA-29469-EN-N (online),KJ-NA-29469-EN-C (print),KJ-NA-29469-EN-E
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC112895
DOI: 10.2760/621710
Type: eBook
Abstract: Marine litter is a global concern that represents a threat to all life in the oceans and seas. Reducing litter in the marine environment is recognised as a priority challenge to help preserve the ecosystem and human health. Marine litter, in particular marine plastics, and its reduction is at the core of political action through the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the EU Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy and the EU Waste Legislation. Quantifying the amount of litter items present in the marine ecosystem is a matter of concern for the MSFD and in general for policies that aim to tackle marine litter. EU marine litter data quality and data management are defined by a complex system of datasets, in which a heterogeneity of protocols are still in use at regional and national levels. In accordance with the implementation of Good Environmental Status (GES) and other aspects of the MSFD, adopting consistent and harmonised criteria and methodological standards ensures consistency of data and the possibility of meaningful comparison between marine regions and subregions. Defining the best possible data management strategy and identifying the most valuable methodology have been pursued by the Joint Research Council (JRC) and the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) Chemistry network, within the TG Litter, with the main goal of delivering a single database able to handle marine litter data at European scale. This report proposes a tailor-made standard procedure on a European scale and lists challenges and hindrances faced during the compilation of beach litter data collected by the countries bordering the European seas, generating the first pan-European beach litter database. The analysis has primarily involved data from 22 European countries and four marine regions. In total 3 063 surveys were performed on 389 European beaches over the period 2012 to 2016. In addition, data from non-European countries facing the seas around Europe have also been included in the database. The biggest challenge faced during the data-compiling phase was dealing with the heterogeneity related to differences in data formats, data quality and protocols used during the beach surveys. A huge effort has been made to handle a varied set of data to guarantee efficient management of the data. The resulting harmonised marine litter database will be made accessible through the EMODnet Chemistry website. A more dynamic and tailored set of products, including datasets and maps for other marine litter compartments, is currently in development. Furthermore, this report gives a complete outlook on further harmonisation approaches in other marine litter topics. The report also provides inputs to develop and implement the most efficient management of data to facilitate data-driven decisions in European policies.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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