The SUBMARINER Marine Litter Working Group takes its first steps
The SUBMARINER network has taken the first steps to advance regional cooperation on the issue of marine litter in the Baltic Sea Region. On Tuesday 4 May, a Baltic Marine Litter Workshop was held as part of the Better Off Blue 2021, a series of online events facilitating active discussion on the State of Play of the Baltic Blue Bioeconomy 2021.
In recent years, the topic of marine litter has gained ground among the activities of the SUBMARINER network (e.g., AQUA-LIT project) and its members (e.g., LHEI, NMFRI). The SUBMARINER network aims to step up its efforts and tackle the issue of marine litter in a more concerted manner to coordinate and promote clusters of circular economy initiatives. To this end, the update of its Baltic Blue Bioeconomy Roadmap 2030 emphasizes the need to establish a SUBMARINER Marine Litter Working Group to assess opportunities to jointly address marine litter in the Baltic Sea Region.
The aim of the Baltic Marine Litter workshop was to provide a joint understanding of the strengths and expertise of the BSR community on this topic and thus to serve as a pre-meeting for the SUBMARINER Marine Litter Working Group. The workshop was attended by 43 participants, mostly coming from the Baltic Sea region. The main take-away of the meeting was that participants suggested to have the SUBMARINER Network as coordinator and communicator of new opportunities related to the diverse topics of marine litter. Also stronger collaboration with actors in other sea basins like exemplified with the BANOS CSA was requested. Topic-wise there are four main aspects participants want to follow-up stronger and in a joint manner:
a) the issue of waste valorisation coming from plastic waste (sea- and land-based),
b) the research of micro-litter related problems due to the strong expertise in the group and
c) the environmentally-friendly plastic substitution also for marine environments.
In addition, the involvement of societies and all levels of ages to raise awareness and improve capacity was highlighted. Here, the use of the enhanced digital skills of citizens and pupils due to Covid-19 could be an entry-point.