Marine Litter (ML) is considered an increasing global environmental challenge and one of the major threats to marine biodiversity. The continuous growth in the amount of solid waste thrown away, and the very slow rate of degradation of most items, are together leading to a gradual increase of marine litter found at sea, on the seafloor and coastal shores.

It is an economic, environmental, human health and aesthetic problem posing a complex challenge, that requires multiple stakeholders’ action, involving the industry, science but also the whole society. The solution to marine litter is likely to be found in a transition towards more sustainable ways of production and consumption that are also promoted via the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as on the correct disposal of litter so it will not reach the ocean. But since there is a large amount of litter already in the Ocean, technology to take it out and recycle it is also needed, as well as to convert litter into new products to integrate the market chain.

Forum Objectives

MAELSTROM’s Interactive Forum aims at encouraging interactive discussions as a think tank, addressing key topics regarding marine litter related research, initiatives and policies happening in the European space and beyond. The ultimate goal of the Forum’s discussions is to produce a joint strategy document on how to assist countries in their need for technological and societal support to tackle ML, leveraging on ML projects already implemented or ongoing.

To this regard, five topics, representing the full circular economy cycle, will be promoted and discussed, as follows:

  • Localize and Characterize – Strategies and innovative modelling to track ML and identify hotspots
  • Collect and Remove – Innovative technologies and solutions to collect and remove ML from the coastal ecosystems
  • Sort and Transform – Marine Litter and Circular Economy: Sort and Recycling ML
  • Marketize – Exploitation of regenerated products: best practices
  • Marine litter impacts on environmental and human health and the role of civil society to tackle the marine litter challenge.

Discussions will focus on Past (what has already been done), Present (state of the art, what’s happening now) and Future (what can be done to improve the existing scenario) for each topic.

Each topic will have a dedicated webinar, with specific conclusions to be published in the forum. The results from the Forum discussions will contribute to a Joint Strategy and Dissemination Plan of Networking Actions.

If you are a researcher, practitioner, policymaker, operator or entrepreneur working within the topics of marine litter remediation and circular economy, Join our Forum and contribute to the design of a Joint Strategy to increase the communication and dissemination efforts of ongoing initiatives within the European space and beyond.