Promoting best practices for a SUP-free Cabrera National Park (Balearic Islands, Spain)

Marine litter prevention and mitigation actions lie at the very heart of the Plastic Busters MPAs project. In October, the management body of the Cabrera National Park (Spain), and the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands (CAIB) –implementing partners of the project– kickstarted their demo activity aiming to promote best practices for a single use plastics (SUP)-free Cabrera National Park.

The demo activity targets the tourism and recreation sectors, the shipping sector, and the fisheries sector operating in the Park. The overall goal of the demo is to significantly reduce and/or phase out the use of single-use plastics as well as improve the waste management practices in the Park. 

The main lines of action include: an audit to assess the use of plastics on the island by multiple actors (i.e. residents, visitors, owners and staff of coastal food and beverage outlets, tour operators, tourism businesses, etc.); awareness-raising and educational activities; the development of concise guidelines including a list with alternatives to single-use plastics for different sectors; and the updating of the Park’s waste management plan. 

In September and October, marine litter surveys were carried out at several beaches in the Park, so as to assess the amount, types and sources of marine litter. The results indicate that the main sources are poor waste management practices in areas outside the archipelago’s jurisdiction, tourism and recreational activities, fisheries and aquaculture and shipping. The results obtained during the marine macrolitter and microlitter research expeditions carried out in 2019 and 2020 on beaches, the sea surface and the seafloor by the National Park and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography-Balearic Oceanographic Centre (IEO-COB) were presented to the Park staff during a workshop. The aim of the workshop was to develop participants’ capacities on how to identify the sources of marine litter and on how define targeted marine litter prevention actions. 

The Park demo project is fully in line with the Balearic law that bans single-use plastics, which was approved in January 2019 by the Balearic Autonomous Government. The law prohibits the following single-use products as of 1 January 2021: lightweight plastic bags, plastic dishes (coated disposable trays, plates, cutlery, drinking cups), drinking straws, disposable razors, disposable lighters, cotton swabs, lollipop sticks, disposable wipes, single-use coffee capsules, and disposable toners and cartridges.