The Plastic Busters MPAs demos on measures

Welcome to the “Plastic Busters MPAS demos on measures” section, where you have the opportunity to follow the Plastic Busters MPAs’ work undertaken in pilot areas to demonstrate how we can move from knowledge to concrete on-site actions and thus address the whole management cycle of marine litter, from monitoring and assessment to prevention and mitigation.

Marine litter prevention and mitigation actions lie at the heart of the Interreg Med Plastic Busters MPAs project. Working for and from the perspective of an MPA manager, Plastic Busters MPAs seeks to offer concrete solutions to prevent and mitigate the impacts of marine litter by showcasing marine litter measures in 9 Mediterranean MPAs.

The demos will showcase MPA-relevant marine litter measures and the collective experience of the demos will be captured in a set of comprehensive guidelines to support replication actions.


Pilot MPAs


Types of measures


Demos being implemented


Demos in the pipeline

Selected best-practice pilot measures tested within Plastic Busters MPAs

National Marine Park of Zakynthos (Greece)

►Setting up a reusable cup delivery system for beach bars 

Strunjan Landscape PARK (SLOVENIA)

► SUPS- free beach bars

Cabrera National Park (Balearic Islands-Spain) 

►Promoting best practices for a SUP’s free Cabrera National Park




The identification of the Plastic Busters MPAs demos has been made by leveraging the work conducted by the Interreg Med ACT4LITTER project . The final short-listing of the marine litter measures to be considered for the pilots was made with a participatory process among all Plastic Busters MPAs project partners, thus ensuring full consideration of the MPAs characteristics and of the role and skills of MPA managers. Initially, a set of 10 different typologies of measures were considered for the demo projects:

Promoting best practices for tourism and recreation

This refers to the promotion of best practices within the tourism and recreation sector with regards to the prevention, reduction, reuse and recycling of waste. Indicative example is the “Responsible Beach Snack Bars” initiative, where beach snack bars voluntarily register on a list and commit themselves to comply with the ‘Decalogue of Good Environmental Practices’. 

Improving solid waste management systems and practices

This entails the promotion and implementation of good practices related to solid waste management at local level in order to minimize solid waste leakages in the coastal and marine environment. A sound example is the promotion of closed bins along the coastal roads and beaches, with the ability to separate and pressurize waste. 

Promoting the replacement of single-use plastics

Apart from legislative measures, there are voluntary measures that can enhance the abatement of single-use plastics. Voluntary measures at local scale can focus on setting up a deposit-refund scheme for a reusable alternative in collaboration with local businesses. An indicative example is the replacement of single-use coffee cups with reusable ones; customers pay a deposit for the coffee cup, which can be returned at stores that have joined this initiative and can be identified by a distinctive sticker placed on the store window. 

Banning specific items and activities

This entails legislative actions for banning certain items or activities. Indicative examples are the measures foreseen under the upcoming EU Single-Use Plastics Directive that include bans on single-use plastic cutlery, plastic plates, plastic straws, cotton bud sticks made of plastic and plastic balloon sticks as well as oxodegradable plastics, food containers and expanded polystyrene cups. 

Awareness raising campaigns

This entails wide-ranging activities such as school interventions, communication campaigns, cleanups, workshops, summer schools, exhibitions and others, aiming to deepen public understanding on the issue of marine litter and catalyze change in their perceptions and attitudes towards waste. Within this typology of measures the “adopt-a-beach scheme” was included. The “adopt-a-beach scheme” is a measure designed to foster volunteer stewardship by encouraging volunteers to ‘adopt’ beaches, clean them up and survey them throughout the year, thus collecting valuable marine litter data essential for facilitating effective responses against marine litter. In order to assist the Contracting Parties to reduce marine litter on beaches along the Mediterranean coastline with the active involvement of civil society and public, the UN Environment/MAP has developed guidelines on how to set up an adopt-a-beach scheme. 

Improving port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships

 To limit and control discharges at sea, ports have to provide adequate facilities to collect all sorts of waste from ships. The relevant international norms are established by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). However, while MARPOL provides a comprehensive framework, it does not provide effective enforcement mechanisms. In order to ensure a better enforcement of the MARPOL obligations the UN Environment/MAP has developed guidelines on the ‘Provision of Reception Facilities in ports and delivery of ship-generated waste’. 

Upcycling and/or recycling

This entails practices were by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products are converted into new materials or products. Indicative examples include: recycling of packaging materials, upcycling of derelict fishing gear to yarn, using recovered plastic waste from the sea for construction purposes, etc.  

Promoting extended producer responsibility schemes

This measure refers to an environmental policy approach, in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage (waste) of a product’s life cycle; i.e. (i) Mandatory take-back system: A system that requires producers to take-back products. This may apply to products that are particularly complex or dangerous to reuse, recycle or dispose. In this case, the producer may include the costs of disposal in the price of the item; (ii) deposit/refund system: A charge is levied when the product is sold and then fully or partly refunded when the good or its container, are returned after use. Such arrangements can be mandatory or instituted on an entirely voluntary basis by producers themselves, where the recovery of items is sufficiently valuable. 

Fishing for litter scheme

This is a measure designed to encourage fishermen to bring ashore litter they catch while performing their daily fishing operations, not only leading to removal of marine litter but also raising awareness on the issue within the fisheries sector and the wider public. 

Derelict fishing gear management schemes

This measure refers to the involvement of fishermen in the collection and proper management of abandoned, lost and discarded derelict fishing gear. This measure may entail actions related to targeted recovery of ‘ghost nets’ (accidently lost fishing nets that continue to catch marine organisms as they keep on drifting in the sea or along the bottom, often for very long periods) from the sea, with the direct involvement of fishermen and divers. 

The final selection of the demos was made following a step-by-step approach with the engagement of stakeholders, and considering the MPA-specific context and characteristics, such as: the marine litter pressure, organizational capacity and human resources, institutional setup and management priorities. The Plastic Busters MPAs monitoring campaigns were instrumental in generating fit-for-purpose marine litter data that pinpointed the selection of targeted measures for the demos.