Third edition of the international workshop “Removal of Marine Litter and Circular Economic: Challenges and Opportunities”

  • Organisers: CNR ISMAR (Italy), Venice Lagoon Plastic Free (Italy), ISDI group (Malta)  Date: 1 giugno
  • Time: 10.00-17.00
  • Location: International Boat Show of Venice at the CNR ISMAR HQs in Venice

On June 1, 2023, the third edition of the international workshop Marine Litter Monitoring, Removal and Circular Economy: Challenges and Opportunities will be held at the headquarters of CNR ISMAR, organized by the H2020 projects MAELSTROM and InNoPlastic.

Now in its third edition, the international workshop is jointly organized by the National Research Council’s Institute of Marine Sciences (CNR ISMAR) and Venice Lagoon Plastic Free (VLPF) as part of the MAELSTROM (coordinated by CNR ISMAR in Venice) and InNoPlastic (coordinated by SINTEF of Norway) projects, which are funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program. The event will introduce additional projects and innovative technologies aimed at monitoring, removing and recycling marine litter, particularly plastics, allowing for a review of the most promising technological developments under the banner of the blue circular economy, a circular economy for our planet’s seas.

The workshop will be an important moment for the exchange of scientific and technical knowledge, bringing together representatives not only from the MAELSTROM, InNoPlastic projects but also the H2020 ENDURUNS coordinated by Altus (Greece), the HE SEACLEAR 2.0 coordinated by the University of Delft, and the Life DREAM coordinated by CNR ISMAR and the HE WINBLUE project, coordinated by CNR IRPPS for the promotion of women in the blue economy.

These projects are an important contribution to the European Union’s ambitious mission to protect the oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters. Indeed, through these ambitious missions, the European Union aims to achieve climate neutrality and nature conservation, protection of 30% of Europe’s sea area, 25,000 km of rivers and biodiversity, restoration and protection of marine ecosystems and degraded habitats, reducing plastic waste at sea as much as possible, halving the use of chemicals and pesticides, and promoting a decarbonized blue economy.

The event will be developed in 3 different sessions alternating with Q&A and will be held in a hybrid mode, both in-person and remotely connected from the CNR ISMAR headquarters in Venice. There will also be no shortage of focus on start-ups developed by young entrepreneurs and dedicated to the development of the blue economy, such as Sea The Change Ltd. from the Ex Herion incubator in Giudecca, presented in the second part of the day.

The workshop will therefore host partners from different industrial, social, technical and scientific backgrounds dedicated to the design and testing of innovative devices and solutions for the monitoring, removal and recovery of marine litter, through circular economy-oriented technologies and with citizen involvement in monitoring activities. A specific focus will be made on Venice and its Lagoon, a world heritage site.

The first part of the workshop will be devoted to the introduction of the above-mentioned projects and then to the presentation of technologies already operational or under development aimed at monitoring and removing marine litter. These are technologies designed to monitor the presence and intercept a wide range of plastics of different sizes, from macro to nanoplastics, so as to reduce their accumulation in our marine and coastal ecosystems while also taking preventive action. Up-to- date data on the presence of macro, micro and nanoplastics in the Venice lagoon will be shared, thanks to the previous work of CNR ISMAR and VLPF in collaboration with University of Bucharest and the Montani Institute of Fermo, Department of Chemistry.

During this session, operators of the MAELSTROM robotic platform, which is present in Venice for cleaning the lagoon and seabed in the coastal area of Venice, will connect remotely. Autonomous seabed exploration vehicles made within the ENDURUNS project will also be presented at the show.

The second part of the day will address the circular economy, focusing on how to give a new life to plastics recovered at sea or beached, through innovative chemical and mechanical systems. This critically important goal for solving the problem globally directly involves a substantial slice of technological and industrial partners, from the aforementioned projects, but not exclusively.

Organizers: The international workshop is co-organized by CNR ISMAR and the NGO Venice Lagoon Plastic Free and ISDI group in collaboration with the Venice Boat Show.

Finally, the international workshop and clean up are recognized as official events of the Venice Boat Show and part of WWF’s Plastic Smart City program of which Venice is a signatory city.