The CleanAtlantic project, led by CETMAR and the CPMR Atlantic Arc Commission, held a workshop on Marine Litter at the Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference in Vigo (Galicia, Spain) on 24 October.

The Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference is the annual event of the Atlantic Strategy, created in 2011. It brings together a variety of stakeholders from the five Atlantic Member States (France, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal), as well as representatives from the European Institutions, to facilitate cooperation at sea-basin level.

CETMAR, with the support of the Atlantic Arc Commission, applied successfully for the organisation of a workshop called ‘Marine Litter: from a global environmental challenge to a job creation driver’.

The objective was to:

  • gather information on five collaborative initiatives tackling marine litter challenges;
  • draw conclusions on the potential for job creation in this field;
  • identify gaps that deserve additional collaborative work in the Atlantic.

Along with the CleanAtlantic project – which involves the Atlantic Arc Commission as a partner –   several other projects tackling Marine litter were presented: Litter Drone, OceanCleanUp, OceanWise and ML Style.

The five presentations were followed by a debate to identify issues where cooperative work is needed to improve monitoring, modelling, mapping hotspots, marine litter removal and the development of the circular economy.

Project representatives explained that drones could be used for this work, but they need to have the ability to fly a long distance away from the coast and be easily retrieve in case of bad weather conditions.

Space technologies could also help modelling and mapping marine litter. New sensors to detect marine litter are currently being developed by the EU Space Agency.

In addition, the amount of energy required for the mapping and collection of marine litter was discussed. The concept of the circular economy offers the opportunity to find solutions that take this problem into account and use renewable energies. Ports such as Vigo, which has a wide range of different stakeholders in its premises, could be key for the implementation of the circular economy.