On the 17th of April 2018 the Interreg Med Plastic Busters MPAs kicked off with the aim to address the impacts of marine litter in coastal and pelagic protected areas through actions that deal with the whole management cycle of marine litter, from monitoring and assessment to prevention and mitigation.
The kick-off event was hosted by the University of Siena and was attended by Mr. Gaetano Leone, Coordinator of the UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan and Mr. Mohamad Afana, Ministry of Environment of Jordan, Union for the Mediterranean Co-Presidency, signifying on the one hand that marine litter is a top priority for the Mediterranean policy agenda and on the other that Plastic Busters MPAs is acknowledged as an initiative of crucial importance in terms of consolidating the fight against marine litter in the region.
Within its 4-year timeframe Plastic Busters MPAs is expected to deliver a quantitative and qualitative diagnosis of the impacts of marine litter in Mediterranean MPAs; strengthen networking of MPAs in improving the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems in pelagic and coastal MPAs; accelerate knowledge transfer to Mediterranean MPA managers and other key actors towards scaling up effective solutions to curb marine litter.
Prof. Cristina Fossi, the scientific coordinator of the project and a leading researcher on marine litter eco-toxicological impacts, in her opening remarks, stressed that marine litter is a priority issue in the Mediterranean as it is one of the most impacted areas of the world, thus posing severe threats to marine biodiversity in the region.
Plastic Busters MPAs deploys the multidisciplinary strategy and common framework of action developed within the Plastic Busters Initiative led by the University of Siena and the Mediterranean Sustainable Development Solutions Network. This Initiative frames the priority actions needed to tackle marine litter in the Mediterranean and was labelled under the Union for the Mediterranean in 2016, capturing the political support of 43 EuroMediterranean countries.